November 1, 2012

Added Protection for Conservation Officers (HB 1417) Signed into Law

On October 24, 2012, Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett signed into law Pennsylvania HB 1417, a bill that increased the penalties for assaulting an officer of the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. HB 1417 amends state code to place wildlife conservation officers and waterways conservation officers in the same protected class while on duty as police, firefighters and other public officers.  An assault of such an officer while they are performing their duties constitutes a second-degree felony.
The bill received strong bipartisan support in both chambers, passing 45-4 in the Senate on October 15, and passing unanimously in the House on October 18.  Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus member Representative Edward Staback was the primary sponsor of the bill.  The Co-Chairs of the Caucus in the House -Representative Marc Gergely and Representative Keith Gillespie – signed on as co-sponsors along with a strong bi-partisan group of Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus members.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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