HB 44, creating a new elk license plate to benefit the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, has passed the Senate on a close 19-15 vote, and now heads go the governor’s desk. Sen. Lee Heider, R-Twin Falls, asked the sponsor, Sen. Marv Hagedorn, whether the new elk plate might reduce revenues to the Idaho Department of Fish & Game, which already has a popular specialty license plate that features an elk.
“All of these organizations compete with one another for donations, whether it’s through plates or whether it’s through private donations,” responded Hagedorn, R-Meridian. “So what the impact will be is impossible to tell.” He added, “The Fish and Game plate is the Fish & Game Foundation. Those donations from the elk plate go to wildlife issues, not specifically towards elk related habitat programs. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation goes directly towards elk related habitat and issues and education.”
Every elk or trout wildlife plate sold gives the state Department of Fish & Game $21; the Legislature first authorized the wildlife license plates to benefit Idaho Fish & Game in 1992. They include bluebird, cutthroat trout and elk plates. Sixty percent of the revenue Fish & Game receives from the elk plates goes to the department’s nongame program, and 10 percent supports wildlife disease monitoring and testing programs. Similarly, 10 percent of the money from the trout plates supports non-motorized boat access.
HB 44 earlier passed the House on a divided, 45-23 vote.