Legislative Liason Report – April
Our legislative liason, Stephen Kafoury, reported back to ORTWS on five events this month: ODFW Budget Advisory Committee Meeting, Oregon League of Conservation Voters dinner, ODFW Conservation Leaders Stakeholders meeting, and two fundraisers for candidates running this year.
The third ODFW Budget Advisory Committee meeting presented the current progress on the budget. There will be staffing cuts, fee increases, and shifting to other revenue sources, such as the state General Fund and federal sources. Even with all the budget adjustments, there will still be a shortfall that the Committee and agency are working on.
At the Oregon League of Conservation Voters dinner conversations ranged from the wild bird seed tax to non-game wildlife support. There will be another effort on the wild bird seed tax in 2015, so ORTWS members get your pens ready to send in letters of support to representatives when the time comes around! This topic might be a good one to get feedback from representatives up for election this year.
Mr. Kafoury also attended the ODFW Conservation Leaders Stakeholders meeting along with Leslie Bliss-Ketchum; this group meets about once per quarter to inform interested parties about agency activities and to garner feedback. The budget was, of course, the primary topic. Some stakeholders suggested that ODFW needs to expand its vision past “hook and bullet” history, and to get general fund support the agency should not offer cuts to conservation programs. SageCon was also discussed, along with updates on data gathering and planning.
Take Note Wildlifers!
Another topic that is of great interest to ORTWS is the Oregon Conservation Strategy revision; the OCS needs revised every 10 years, and this effort needs to be completed in October 2015! Technical and stakeholder advisory groups will be set up. Given that our motto is “Excellence in wildife stewardship through science and education”, ORTWS should be a participant in this process. If you have interest in this, please contact the Legislative Affairs Committee via Fran Cafferata Coe so that we can begin efforts to participate.