Legislative Liason Report – March 2014
ORTWS was represented by Leslie Bliss-Ketchum (past president) and Stephen Kaufory (legislative liason) at one of a series of ODFW budget advisory meetings on March 10. Throughout the meetings, stakeholders provide information on budgeting tasks for the upcoming biennium. This first meeting focused primarily on background information, with data provided on the agency’s present situation with respect to revenue and expenditures. Conservation and habitat programs constitute about 15% of expenditures, while wildlife management takes about another 17%. There are opportunities for public input outside of the budget adivsory committee (BAC) meetings. THe last license fee increase was 6 years ago, and ORTWS supported that increase. Since then, expenditures exceeded expectations, and the license increase was not able to keep the budget even. To stay balanced, ODFW has had to cut back program funding and reduce regional offices and police. With this background in place, the BAC discussed revenue raising possibilities and additional program reductions. Approximately half of the agency’s revenue comes from hunting and fishing licenses; this would not be the sole source for revenue increase, however. Increasing fees may increase revenue, but also has the side effect of fewer license renewals which ultimately can negate any bump in revenue. The BAC meetings going forward will be in small group formats to enhance brainstorming and debate. Leslie attended the second meeting as well, where she offered a concept she developed with Mr. Kaufory about commercial partnerships.
On March 30th, Mr. Kaufory met with the ORTWS’s Conservation Affairs and Legislative Affairs committees to discuss coordination of legislative issues and potential outreach opportunities. Working in concert with other groups on complimentary issues. Our legislative liason is also in communication with interested partners on Ballot Measure 76.