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Lawmaker’s plan would let wolf kills go unpunished

Fri., Feb. 11, 2011, 10:57 a.m.

BOISE — A North Idaho Republican says the state should not punish people who kill federally protected gray wolves.

Republican Rep. Phil Hart unveiled legislation Friday that would prohibit the state from investigating, arresting or prosecuting any person who kills a gray wolf in Idaho. The bill would also prohibit state employees from helping federal agencies arrest or prosecute someone who kills a gray wolf.

Under the proposed statute, first-time violators would face a $500 civil penalty.

Wolves in the Northern Rockies are listed as endangered under court order, but state and federal officials have been looking for ways to curb their population.

The House Resources and Conservation Committee decided to hold onto Hart’s bill amid concerns it could harm potential negotiations between governors in the Northern Rockies and the federal government over the status of gray wolves.

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