ASSEMBLY, No. 2704

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

211th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MAY 6, 2004

 

 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman ANTHONY CHIAPPONE

District 31 (Hudson)

Assemblyman MICHAEL PANTER

District 12 (Mercer and Monmouth)

Assemblyman ROBERT MORGAN

District 12 (Mercer and Monmouth)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman Weinberg, Assemblyman Gordon and Assemblywoman Greenstein

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

    Prohibits black bear hunting, creates black bear study commission, authorizes issuance and sale of NJ Black Bear Stamp, establishes NJ Black Bear Stamp Account.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

    As introduced.

 

(Sponsorship Updated As Of: 1/12/2005)


An Act concerning the hunting of black bear, supplementing Title 23 of the Revised Statutes, and making an appropriation.

 

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

 

    1. Not withstanding any law, rule, regulation, or provision of the State Fish and Game Code, there shall be no open season or any hunting by permit for black bears anywhere in the State.

 

    2. a. There is established a Black Bear Study Commission, which shall comprise 11 members as follows: two veterinarians licensed in the State of New Jersey, having experience with black bears, who shall be appointed by the Governor; a representative of the Humane Society of the United States, who shall be appointed by that organization; a representative of the Bear Education and Resource Group, who shall be appointed by that organization; a representative of persons residing in those areas of the State where black bear are regularly found, who shall be appointed by the governing body of West Milford Township in Passaic County; a representative of the Sierra Club, who shall be appointed by that organization; a representative of the Mountain Preservation Society, who shall be appointed by that organization; a member of the Nature Preservation Council, who shall be appointed by that organization; a representative of the Farm Bureau, who shall be appointed by that organization; an animal control officer having experience with black bears, who shall be appointed by the governor; and a representative of the Department of Environmental Protection, who shall be appointed by that agency. The Governor shall appoint the Chair.

    b. Members of the commission shall serve at the pleasure of the relevant appointing authority.

    c. Vacancies in the appointed positions on the commission shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments.

    d. Members of the commission shall serve without compensation, but the commission may, within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available to it, reimburse members for actual expenses necessarily incurred in the discharge of their official duties.

 

    3. a. The commission shall organize as soon as possible after the appointment of its members and shall meet at such times and places as it deems appropriate.

    b. A majority of the full membership of the commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of commission business. Action may be taken and motions and resolutions adopted by the commission at any meeting thereof by the affirmative vote of a majority of the full membership of the commission.

    c. The commission shall be entitled to call to its assistance and avail itself of the services and assistance of such officials and employees of the State and its political subdivisions and their departments, boards, bureaus, commissions, authorities, and agencies as it may require and as may be available to it for its purposes, and incur traveling and other miscellaneous expenses as it may deem necessary, in order to perform its duties, and may expend any funds as may be appropriated or otherwise made available to it for its purposes.        d. Prior to preparing the initial report required pursuant to section 4 of this act, the commission shall hold at least one public hearing to solicit public input on the issues under the jurisdiction of the commission.

 

    4. a. The commission shall, within one year after the date of enactment of this act, and quarterly each year for the next four years thereafter, prepare and issue a written report, which may include recommendations to be made to the Governor, the Legislature, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Department of Agriculture, concerning (1) the status and management of the black bear population in the State, and (2) the availability, effectiveness, implementation, and use of nonlethal black bear population control methods, reproductive control procedures, aversive conditioning techniques, and public education and training efforts and programs to reduce, to the maximum extent practicable and feasible, actual and potential conflicts between black bears and humans. Copies of each commission report shall be made available to the public at no cost.

    b. For the period during which it exists, the commission shall advise the Department of Environmental Protection with respect to the creation, design, administration, sale, distribution, and other matters related to the New Jersey Black Bear Stamp, and the reproduction, replica, or other utilization of its design, authorized pursuant to section 6 of this act. The commission shall also advise the Department of Environmental Protection with respect to the utilization of revenues in the New Jersey Black Bear Stamp Account established pursuant to section 7 of this act.

    c. The commission shall expire five years after the date of enactment of this act.

 

    5. There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Black Bear Study Commission the sum of $10,000 to carry out the purposes of this act.

 

    6. a. The Department of Environmental Protection is authorized to issue annually a Black Bear Stamp, which may be procured from the department or from other designated agents deemed qualified by the department. The fee for the New Jersey Black Bear Stamp shall be $10.

    b. The department shall determine the final design and form of the New Jersey Black Bear Stamp to be issued each year. The department shall retain reproduction and distribution rights to the design of any New Jersey Black Bear Stamp issued.

    c. The sole purpose for issuance of the New Jersey Black Bear Stamp shall be to raise revenue for the purposes set forth in section 7 of this act.

 

    7. a. There is established within the Department of Environmental Protection a separate and dedicated account to be known as the "New Jersey Black Bear Stamp Account." The account shall be credited with all revenues received by the department from the sale of the New Jersey Black Bear Stamp and of any reproduction, replica, or other utilization of the design of the stamp. Moneys in the account shall be utilized by the Department of Environmental Protection, in consultation with the Department of Agriculture, to (1) compensate farmers for documented damage or injury to, or loss of, agricultural or horticultural crops, livestock, or other personal or real property due to black bear activity, and (2) assist in paying the cost of public education and training efforts and programs to reduce, to the maximum extent practicable and feasible, actual and potential conflicts between black bears and humans.

    b. The New Jersey Black Bear Stamp Account shall be kept separate and apart from all other funds and accounts, and moneys shall be disbursed therefrom by the State Treasurer to the Department of Environmental Protection only for the purposes identified in this section.

 

    8. The Department of Environmental Protection may adopt, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), any rules and regulations necessary to administer the provisions of sections 6 and 7 of this act, including, but not limited rules and regulations pertaining to, (1) the creation, design, administration, sale, distribution, and establishment of prices for any reproduction, replica, or other utilization of the design of any New Jersey Black Bear Stamp issued, and (2) the distribution of moneys from the New Jersey Black Bear Stamp Account established pursuant to section 7 of this act.

 

    9. This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

    This bill would prohibit any open season hunting or any hunting by permit of black bear in the State. In addition, this bill would create an 11-member Black Bear Study Commission, composed of representatives of various interest groups, who would be charged with preparing, within one year and quarterly for four years thereafter, a written report concerning (1) the status and management of the black bear population in the State, and (2) the availability, effectiveness, implementation, and use of nonlethal black bear population control methods, reproductive control procedures, aversive conditioning techniques, and public education and training efforts and programs to reduce, to the maximum extent practicable and feasible, actual and potential conflicts between black bears and humans. The bill would require the commission to hold at least one public hearing prior to the preparation of its initial report to solicit public input on the issues under jurisdiction of the commission. Each report may include recommendations to be made to the Governor, the Legislature, and various State agencies. The commission would expire in five years.

    The bill would appropriate $10,000 to the Black Bear Study Commission to carry out its duties under the legislation.

    In addition, the bill would authorize the Department of Environmental Protection to issue annually a New Jersey Black Bear Stamp, which may be procured from the department or from other designated agents deemed qualified by the department. The fee for the stamp would be $10. The department would retain reproduction and distribution rights to the design of any New Jersey Black Bear Stamp issued. The stamps would be sold solely for fund-raising purposes as prescribed in the bill.

    Finally, the bill would establish the "New Jersey Black Bear Stamp Account," which would be credited with all revenues received by the Department of Environmental Protection from the sale of the New Jersey Black Bear Stamp and of any reproduction, replica, or other utilization of the design of the stamp. Moneys in the account would be utilized by the Department of Environmental Protection, in consultation with the Department of Agriculture, to (1) compensate farmers for documented damage or injury to, or loss of, agricultural or horticultural crops, livestock, or other personal or real property due to black bear activity, and (2) assist in paying the cost of public education and training efforts and programs to reduce, to the maximum extent practicable and feasible, actual and potential conflicts between black bears and humans.