ASSEMBLY, No. 3275

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

212th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JUNE 12, 2006

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman MICHAEL J. PANTER

District 12 (Mercer and Monmouth)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman Greenstein

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Changes composition and revises authority of Fish and Game Council.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning the Fish and Game Council and amending and repealing parts of P.L.1948, c.488.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  Section 26 of P.L.1948, c.488 (C.13:1B-24) is amended to read as follows:

     26.  There shall be within the Division of Fish [, Game] and Wildlife, a Fish and Game Council which shall consist of [11] seven members, each of whom shall be chosen with due regard to [his] the person’s knowledge of and interest in the conservation of fish and [game] wildlife .  Each member of the council shall be appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate.  [Three of such members shall be farmers, recommended to the Governor for appointment to the council by the agricultural convention held pursuant to the provisions of article 2 of chapter 1 of Title 4 of the Revised Statutes; six of such members shall be sportsmen, recommended to the Governor for appointment to the council by the New Jersey State Federation  of Sportsmen's Clubs; one of such members shall be the chairman of the committee established pursuant to section 7 of the “Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act” (P.L.1973, c.309; C. 23:2A-7), and one of such members shall be a person knowledgeable in land use management and soil conservation practices.  One of such farmer representatives and two of such sportsmen representatives in the council shall be chosen from among residents of any of the following counties--Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex and Warren; one of such farmer representatives and two of such sportsmen representatives in the council shall be chosen from among residents of any of the following counties--Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset and Union; and one of such farmer representatives and two of such sportsmen representatives shall be chosen from among residents of any of the following counties--Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem.]  No member of the council shall have a direct personal financial interest that might reasonably be expected to impair the person’s objectivity or independence of judgment.

     Each member of the council shall be appointed for a term of [4] four years and shall serve until [his] a successor has been appointed and has qualified.

(cf:  P.L.1979, c.199, s.72)


     2.  Section 28 of P.L.1948, c.488 (C.13:1B-26) is amended to read as follows:

     28.  [Each] The Governor shall designate one of the members of the council as [chairman] chairperson of such council.  Any member of the council so designated shall serve as such  [chairman] chairperson at the pleasure of the Governor [designating him] and until [his] a successor has been designated.  The [chairman] chairperson of the council shall be its presiding officer.

     Any vacancies in the membership of [said] the council occurring other than by expiration of term shall be filled [in the same manner as the original appointment but for the unexpired term only] by appointment by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate .  Any member of the council may be removed from office by the Governor, for cause, upon notice and opportunity to be heard.

     The members of the council shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.

     No person who has been appointed a member of the council for two successive terms, including an unexpired term, shall again be eligible for [that office] appointment to the council for four years next following the expiration of [his] the second successive term.

(cf:  P.L.1948, c.448, s.28)

 

     3.  Section 29 of P.L.1948, c.488 (C.13:1B-27) is amended to read as follows:

     29.  The Division of Fish and [Game] Wildlife shall be under the immediate supervision of a director, who shall be a person with special training and experience in [wild life] wildlife management and otherwise qualified to direct the work of [such] the division.  The director of [such] the division shall be appointed by the Fish and Game Council, subject to the approval of the Governor, and shall, unless sooner removed by the Governor as hereinafter provided, serve at the pleasure of such council and until the director's successor is appointed and has qualified.  [He] The director shall receive such salary as [shall be] provided by law.

     The director shall administer the work of [such] the division under the direction and supervision of the commissioner.

(cf:  P.L.1948, c.448, s. 29)

 

     4.  Section 30 of P.L.1948, c.488 (C.13:1B-28) is amended to read as follows:

     30.  In addition to its powers and duties otherwise hereinafter provided, the Fish and Game Council shall, subject to the approval of the commissioner, formulate comprehensive policies for the protection and propagation of fish, birds, and game animals and for the propagation and distribution of food fish and for the keeping up of the supply thereof in the waters of the State.

     The council shall also:

     a.  [Consult] consult with and advise the commissioner and director of the Division of Fish and [Game] Wildlife with respect to the work of [such] the division [.] ;

     b.  [Study] study the activities of the Division of Fish and [Game] Wildlife and hold hearings with respect thereto as it may deem necessary or desirable [.] ;

     c.  [Report] report to the Governor and , pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), to the Legislature annually, and at such other times as it may deem in the public interest, with respect to its findings and conclusions ;

     d.  investigate the use of non-lethal alternatives for dealing with wildlife conflicts;

     e.  explore eco-tourism opportunities to promote the State’s diverse wildlife; and

     f.  pursue opportunities to preserve land suitable for wildlife habitat.

(cf:  P.L.1948, c.448, s.30)

 

     5.  Section 31 of P.L.1948, c.448 (C.13:1B-29) is amended to read as follows:

     31.  As used in this article, unless otherwise specifically indicated:

     "Division" means the Division of Fish and [Game] Wildlife in the Department of [Conservation and Economic Development] Environmental Protection .

     "Council" means the Fish and Game Council in the Division of Fish and [Game] Wildlife of the Department of [Conservation and Economic Development] Environmental Protection and established pursuant to section 26 of P.L.1948, c.448 (C.13:1B-24) .

     "Code" means the State Fish and Game Code established pursuant to section 32 of P.L.1948, c.448 (C.13:1B-30) .

(cf: P.L.1948, c.448, s.31)

 

     6.  Section 32 of P.L.1948, c.448 (C.13:1B-30) is amended to read as follows:

     32.  For the purpose of providing [an adequate and flexible]  a properly managed and balanced system of protection, propagation, [increase,] control and conservation of [fresh water] freshwater fish, game birds, game animals, and fur-bearing animals in this State, [and for their use and development for public recreation and food supply,] the council is hereby authorized and empowered to determine under what circumstances, when and in what localities, by what means and in what amounts and numbers such [fresh water] freshwater fish, game birds, game animals, and fur-bearing animals, or any of them, may be pursued, taken, killed, or had in possession so as to maintain an adequate and proper supply thereof, and may, after first having determined the need for such action on the basis of scientific investigation and research, adopt and from time to time amend and repeal such appropriate and reasonable regulations concerning the same, or any of them, penalties for the violation of which are prescribed by certain of the sections of Title 23 of the Revised Statutes amended herein, as it deems necessary to preserve, properly utilize or maintain the best relative number of any species or variety thereof, at the times, in the manner and to the extent hereinafter provided.  The regulations so established shall be called the State Fish and Game Code.

(cf:  P.L.1948, c.448, s.32)

 

     7.  Section 33 of P.L.1948, c.448 (C.13:1B-31) is amended to read as follows:

     33.  Any regulation of the council or amendment thereto adopted pursuant to the provisions of this article which relates to [fresh water] freshwater fish, or any species or variety thereof, after the council has first determined the need for such action on the basis of scientific investigation and research, may apply to all or any portion of the State, at the discretion of the council, and may do any or all of the following as to any or all species or varieties of [fresh water] freshwater fish:

     a.  [Establish] establish , extend, shorten or abolish open seasons and closed seasons [.] ;

     b.  [Establish] establish , change or abolish bag limits, possession limits and size limits [.] ;

     c.  [Establish] establish and change territorial limits for the pursuit, taking, or killing of any or all species or varieties [.] ; and

     d.  [Prescribe] prescribe the manner and the means of pursuing, taking, or killing any species or variety.

(cf: P.L.1948, c.448, s.33)

 

     8.  Section 34 of P.L.1948, c.448 (C.13:1B-32) is amended to read as follows:

     34.  Any regulation of the council or amendment thereto adopted pursuant to the provisions of this article which relates to game birds, game animals or fur-bearing animals, after the council has first determined the need for such action on the basis of scientific investigation and research, may apply to all or any part of the State, at the discretion of the council, and may do any or all of the following as to any or all species or varieties of game birds, game animals, and fur-bearing animals:

     a.  [Establish] establish , extend, shorten or abolish open seasons and closed seasons [.] ;

     b.  [Establish] establish , change or abolish bag limits and possession limits [.] ;

     c.  [Establish] establish and change territorial limits for the pursuit, taking, or killing of any or all species or varieties [.] ;

     d.  [Prescribe] prescribe the manner and the means of pursuing, taking, or killing any species or variety [.]; and

     e.  [Establish] establish , change or abolish restrictions based upon sex, maturity, or other physical distinction.

(cf:  P.L.1948, c.448, s.34)

 

     9.  Section 27 of P.L.1948, c.448 (C.13:1B-25) is repealed.

 

     10. This act shall take effect January 1 next following enactment, but the Governor and the Senate may take such action in advance thereof as shall be necessary for the implementation of this act.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would change the membership of the Fish and Game Council.  Under this bill, the council would be composed of seven members, chosen with due regard to the person’s knowledge of and interest in the conservation of fish and wildlife, and without regard for geographic representation of the regions of the State.  The seven members would be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.  In addition, this bill would require that no member of the council have a direct personal financial interest that might reasonably be expected to impair the person’s objectivity or independence of judgment.

     Under current law, there are 11 members on the council, chosen with due regard to the person’s knowledge of and interest in the conservation of fish and game, as follows:  (1) three farmers, recommended by the State agricultural convention to the Governor for appointment; (2) six sportsmen, recommended by the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs to the Governor for appointment; (3) one public member knowledgeable in land use management and soil conservation practices; and (4) the Chairperson of the Endangered and Nongame Species Advisory Committee established pursuant “The Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act.”  One farmer representative and two sportsmen representatives on the council must be chosen from among residents of any of the following counties -- Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, and Warren; one farmer representative and two sportsmen representatives on the council must be chosen from among residents of any of the following counties -- Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset, and Union; and one farmer representative and two sportsmen representatives must be chosen from among residents of any of the following counties -- Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem.

     This bill would also revise the authority of the Fish and Game Council.  This bill expand the duties of the council to include:  investigating the use of non-lethal alternatives for dealing with wildlife conflicts; exploring eco-tourism opportunities to promote the State’s diverse wildlife; and pursuing opportunities to preserve land for wildlife habitat

     In addition, under current law, the Fish and Game Council is authorized to adopt the State Fish and Game Code for the purpose of “providing an adequate and flexible system of protection, propagation, increase, control and conservation of freshwater fish, game birds, game animals, and fur-bearing animals in this State, and for their use and development for public recreation and food supply.”  This bill would provide that the code is for the purpose of providing a properly managed and balanced system, and would delete the consideration for use and development of fish and game for public recreation and food supply.

     Lastly, the bill makes various technical amendments to the statutory text to update references to the Department of Environmental Protection and the Division of Fish and Wildlife, and to update statutory references.