NH Fish & Game Tries to Expand Coyote Hunt With Sneaky Non-Germane Amendment
The NH House Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee (not to be confused with the NH Fish and Game Department) has introduced a non-germane amendment to a bill that would broaden the current hunting season of New Hampshire's coyotes.
What is a Non-Germane Amendment?
An amendment to a bill that has no relation to the purpose or intention of the original bill.
What Is The Bill They Are Amending?
HB 224 was introduced into NH State Legislature and referred to the NH Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee in early January 2017.
Right now (Under RSA 214:5-b) non-resident students can pay the same price as NH residents for a non-resident hunting license. HB 224, would remove that discount.
Sounds fair enough, so what is the problem?
The Sneaky Introduction
The public hearing to discuss HB 224 was on January 17, 2017, so any residents that wanted to weigh in on the bill did so on that date.
On January 31st, the committee was supposed to vote on the bill. However, that executive session was cancelled, as an amendment to the bill was introduced.
Enter the Non-Germane Coyote Season Amendment
Current NH laws allow coyotes to be hunted all year round during the day and also during the night from January 1st through March 31st. The amendment that has been introduced would extend night time hunting to January 1st through August 31st.
There has been little to no public notification regarding this non-germane amendment. In fact, when viewing the bill docket online as of today, clicking to view the untitled amendment shown, brings up nothing but a blank page.(1)
As it stands now, most of the public would have no idea that this coyote amendment even exists, never mind having the opportunity to speak in opposition to it.
What Does The Committee Have to Say?
It has yet to be determined exactly who or how many of our representatives support the non-germane amendment, however, at least one committee member does because it was Representative John Klose (R-Epsom) of the Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee that drafted it.
John Klose made this statement to the Concord Monitor, “I put an amendment in. I don’t know what they attached it to,” he said. “When you attach an amendment on a bill, usually it’s a dead bill.”
Certainly one would assume that when a representative submits an amendment, they would have to indicate or at least have thoughts as to which bill they were proposing it be attached to.
Disorganized or Secretive?
Even if the amendment was inadvertently attached to HB 224, that does not bode well for the committee, nor our NH legislative system. What exactly is going on in the State House? Are representatives and administrators just randomly throwing bills and amendments around hoping that they land in the right place? Or are they attaching non-germane amendments preventing the public from speaking their point of view? Either way, it’s not a good look.
Which is very unfortunate for many reasons, including the representatives who not only strictly follow the legislative rules and regulations but also go out of their way to genuinely represent their constituents. Such as Representative Ellen Read who disagreed with the approach and expressed to the Concord Monitor, ‘it appeared as though a controversial proposal was being introduced in a way that would limit the public’s ability to know it was coming.’
In addition to the fact that this is bordering on unethical politics, or at the very least, disorganization of NH legislature, the proposed extended night hunt on coyotes does not factually make sense.
Regardless of opinions about the safety risks of night hunting or hunting in general, science indicates that hunting predators increases that animals population, as they instinctively reproduce more to counterbalance the loss of their pack. In other words, killing half of a coyote pack will cause the surviving coyotes to mate with others outside of their pack, and often at a younger age than they were before. This increases the overall coyote population in time, not to mention creating more pups to feed, which could lead to desperate adults turning to sheep or other domestic animals as prey.
Extending a night time hunt through the spring season in which pups are raised, also puts adults at risk during the time period in which pups are fed and trained to hunt. Pups can be left without parents causing a slow death due to starvation. Pups that do survive, most likely have not been trained to hunt properly, also putting our domestic animals at a greater risk.
1. Attend the Public Hearing
Date: Tues 2-07-17
Location: Legislative Office Building
33 N State Street, Concord NH - Room 307
You may verbally testify, provide written testimony, or simply sign in as opposed to HB 224 as amended.
And/or Before 2-07-17
2. Kindly email the Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee
Email Address: HouseFishandGameCommittee@leg.state.nh.us
Subject: Oppose Non-Germane Amendment to HB 224
Identification: Include your name and address as proof of residency.
Briefly explain that you are opposed to the non-germane amendment to HB 224, which would expand the laws regarding hunting coyotes.
Not All Hunters and Representatives Support It
Be mindful that not all hunters or members of the Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee support the proposed Coyote amendment, nor will disrespect to a representative contribute to efficiently opposing it. Please remember that kindness and clarity are the keys to successful communication with those that represent us.
(1) Update February 6, 2017: The online docket was updated today with a revised version of the drafted non-germane amendment, which is now viewable via the amendment link provided. The finalized amendment was completed by Chairman Webb and Vicechair L'Heureux, the amendment number has changed from 2017-0125h to 2017-0227h, and title from ‘Draft Amendment to’ to ‘Amendment to HB224-FN’. The intention and the remaining wording of the amendment have remained the same.