April 6, 2020

Utah: One for the Record Books – Outstanding 2020 Legislative Session

Contact: Ellary TuckerWilliams, Inter-Mountain Western States Coordinator

The 2020 legislative session was a huge success for Utah’s outdoor sporting community as 9 pro-sportsmen and women pieces of legislation were enacted by Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus member Governor Gary Herbert. The culmination of each enacted bill is a tremendous win and a direct result of the hard work and dedication of the Utah Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus

House Bill 26 – Jordan River Recreation Area

In an effort to provide a non-lapsing funding source for programs and improvement projects related to the Jordan River Recreation Area, House Bill 26 (H26) charged the Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands with the management of funds appropriated for these activities. The funding may be expended for a variety of purposes, including enhancing safety, recreation and conservation, building a boat launch and picnic pavilion along with other amenities, invasive species removal, and riparian habitat restoration, all within the portion of the recreation area along the Jordan River. H26 was authored by Utah Sportsmen’s Caucus member, Representative Mike Winder.

House Bill 125 – Division of Wildlife Resources Activity Oversight

Due to growing population of predators and their increasing impact on big game populations within the state, House Bill 125 (H125) prioritizes healthy populations of big game animals by directing the Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) to take immediate action to reduce the number of predators within a management unit, if it is determined that the big game population is under the established herd size management objective, due to an overpopulation of predators. Immediate action includes a variety of management tools such as increasing the number of permits or tags for cougar and bear and allowing big game hunters to harvest predators with appropriate permits during big game season. H125 was authored by Utah Sportsmen’s Caucus member, Representative Carl Albrecht.

House Bill 228 – Livestock Predators Removal

In the case of livestock depredation, House Bill 228 (H228) provides several opportunities for livestock owners to address the problem predator. Specific to sportsmen and women, a landowner or livestock owner may notify the division of the depredation or human health and safety concerns. The DWR may then authorize a local hunter to take the offending predator as well as the method of take, duration and season the depredation permit is valid for. H228 was authored by Utah Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair, Representative Casey Snider.

House Bill 233 – Natural Resource Activities Legacy Fund Act

The Utah Natural Resources Legacy Fund Act aims to fund landscape level conservation throughout the state through projects that would provide perpetual access for hunting, fishing, or trapping, habitat conservation, multiple use of renewable natural resources, management of non-game species and projects that would reduce the likelihood of future listings of species under the Endangered Species Act. Such projects would be selected by the Utah Natural Resource Legacy Fund Board, of which one member would represent the hunting, fishing and trapping interests of the state. H233 was authored by Utah Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair, Representative Casey Snider.

House Bill 255 – Aquatic Invasive Species Mitigation Fee

In an effort to mitigate impact of aquatic invasive species throughout the state, House Bill 255 (H255) requires non-resident boaters to complete an aquatic invasive species education course and pay a fee before operating a boat on waters within Utah. Resident and non-resident aquatic invasive species fees collected will be used in aquatic invasive species prevention and containment efforts. Additionally, H255 requires a person to remove all plugs and similar devices and to drain water systems on all vessels before transporting the conveyance on a highway in the state, otherwise resulting in a class C misdemeanor. H255 was authored by Utah Sportsmen’s Caucus member, Representative Steve Waldrip.

House Concurrent Resolution 13 – Wildlife Protection and Motorist Safety Act

In acknowledgment of the importance of healthy wildlife and landscapes as critical components to the quality of life and economy of Utah, House Concurrent Resolution 13 (HCR13) supports and acknowledges the importance of wildlife corridors in the conservation of big game species, connectivity of world class fisheries, and as a solution to public safety concerns surrounding wildlife-vehicle collisions and wildlife crossings. HCR13 was authored by Utah Sportsmen’s Caucus member, Representative Mike Schultz. 

House Concurrent Resolution 19 – Opposing the Introduction of Wolves

Due to a variety of parties pursuing the artificial human introduction of wolves into the Southern Rockies and the potential negative impact on the state economy, as well as large game populations and livestock, House Concurrent Resolution 19 (HCR19) opposes the human introduction of wolves into the Southern Rockies, specifically areas where wolves would be able to travel into or within the state of Utah. HCR19 was authored by Utah Sportsmen’s Caucus member, Representative Logan Wilde.

House Concurrent Resolution 24 – Resolution on Quagga Mussels

Due to the damaging nature and management difficulties associated with aquatic invasive speciesHouse Concurrent Resolution 24 (HCR24) recognizes the harm of quagga mussels within the state, particularly the impact on Lake Powell and attempts to monitor and contain the infestation. HCR24 recognizes the need for federal agency partnership and urges a collaborative effort to prevent the further spread of invasive quagga mussels in the state. HCR24 was authored by Utah Sportsmen’s Caucus member, Representative Logan Wilde. 

House Joint Resolution 15 – Right to Hunt, Fish, and Harvest Wildlife

House Joint Resolution 15 (HJR15) proposes to enshrine the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife in the Utah Constitution as a valued part of Utah’s outdoor heritage. HJR15 will be on the general election ballot come November 2020 where it will then be left up to the citizens of Utah to vote on whether or not HJR 15 will pass. If voters agree, the state constitution will be amended to include the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife. HJR15 was authored by Utah Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair, Representative Casey Snider.

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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