Tuesday, 31 December 1991 17:00

HUNTER'S ALERT SPONSORS LEGISLATIVE BILLS

Written by Hunters Alert
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After years of putting up with abuses and indifferences by the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) and Board of Wildlife Commissioners, Hunter's Alert, along with sportsmen and sports­man's groups from around the state, decided they had enough and had bills drafted in Carson City to force legislative changes on NDOW.

The Legislative bills, SB-511 and SB-512, were drafted to address the serious problems that are destroy­ing hunting and hunting opportuni-Mes in Nevada. These problems run ne gamut from low game numbers and predator populations out of con­trol (reducing game numbers in far greater proportion than the drought) to wilderness, park, and environmental designations closing access roads, eliminating game management and/or outright hunt­ing and firearm bans.

Problems also included are seri­ous reports of financial waste and mismanagement within NDOW (see 1989 legislative audits) to a comput­er big game draw system that can be manipulated to predict/change the sequence and numbers that are drawn (see 1989 legislative audits). One state official who requested that he remain anonymous stated that these audits were the worst audits of a state department that he had seen during his many years in state government.

Since NDOW and the Wildlife Commissioners have supported or steadfastly refused to address these problems, sportsmen were forced to demand legislative changes through

Carson City. (When sportsmen brought these problems some exist­ing for as long as 10-15 years-to the attention of NDOW and many of the Commissioners, they were either ignored, ridiculed, treated disdain­fully, or referred to as "malcon­tents.")

Senate Bill-511 was drafted to form a new state agency called "Nevada Department of Game Management." This state agency would be charged with the estab­lishment, management, and dra­matic improvement of all game species in Nevada. All moneys raised through hunting and fishing license sales, tags, and application fees would be directed to the much

needed expansion of game species numbers.

Senate Bill-512 reflected the con­cerns of many sportsmen, including the legislative audits, that the com­puter draw could/is being manipu­lated to draw big game tags for favored individuals. SB-511 would remove the computer draw system from NDOW and place it up for bid with outside concerns to operate.

Many organizations such as the National Rifle Association and the Academy Awards do not allow any in-house counting of ballots or awards. All NRA votes for their directors go to outside accounting firms for tabulation. No one within NRA is allowed to see or handle any of the hundreds of thousands of sealed ballots NRA receives for directors. The Academy Awards are

run virtually the same. All of their sealed ballots go to an outside firm for counting. Both of these organi­zation realize that in-house tabula­tion of ballots can lead to manipulation and fraud.

Nevada's big game computer draw has become in every way as valuable and important as NRA's or the Academy's ballots. With limited deer, elk, sheep, and goat tags being sought by an ever increasing num­ber of hunters, many sportsmen believe that every effort must be made to make sure that the comput­er draw is absolutely free of any internal tampering. The 1989 leg­islative audits of NDOW showed that this wasn't the case and that a distinct possibility of tampering could/was occurring.

Both bills were introduced into the Senate Natural Resources Committee of the last legislative session. There was a full committee room when the bills were heard. Hunters' Alert, other sportsman groups, and many individual sports­men from around the state came to testify in support. Those opposing the bills were NDOW, the Wildlife Commissioners, and a couple of sportsmen. The count was 34 for passage of the bills and only 6 testi­fying against. The bills passed com­mittee with a unanimous vote of the legislators.

Before the bills could proceed to the Senate for a fair floor vote, they had one more stop. That was to the Senate Finance Committee. This committee was, unfortunately, headed by Sen. Nick Horn, D-Las Vegas. Immediately serious prob­lems were encountered. Sen. Horn indicated he would kill the bills. He would do this by not letting them come up for hearings before his committee. Horn chose to ignore hundreds of letters and phone calls from sportsmen and sportsmen groups from around the state. He disregarded members of his own committee who favored passage of the bills. In the end, Horn would

keep the bills bottled up in his desk drawer.

For those who are unaware, this is the same Nick Horn who voted for the infamous 300 percent pen­sion and salary raises.

Good hunting and good govern­ment won't exist as long as he is around. It is time that the sports­men and voters in Horn's district turn him out of office.

It was decided to move efforts over to the Assembly side of the leg­islature. Assistant Minority Leader David Humke, R-Reno, was contact­ed. Humke suggested that since it now was late in the session and time was of the essence, we move only one of the bills through the Assembly for passage.

Assemblyman Humke, a hunter himself and one of the foremost sup­porters of sportsmen's issues, took the lead on the floor in getting the legislation passed. Humke moved to amend SB-512 to Senate Bill 506. The vote to amend was 23 in favor and 19 against (see side bar for vote results). However, a fight developed in committee and on the Assembly floor against the pro-sportsmen leg­islators (the 23). The bill passed the Assembly in somewhat changed form.

Nevada Department of Wildlife now has been legislatively mandat­ed to place the computer draw sys­tem with an outside concern to operate. For the first time since 1973, when the computer draw sys­tem was first instituted, Nevada will have the same security protections on their computer draw system as the N.R.A. or Academy Awards has on theirs. Is it infallible? No. It is better than what we had? Yes, by a country mile.

SUPPORTIVE

John Baily                             R

Rick Bennett                          D

Louis Bergevin                       R

John Carpenter                      R

Joe Elliott                              R

Jim Gibbons                           R

Brad Goetting                        R

6

Bill Gregory                           R

Warren Hardy                        R

Dean Heller                           R

David Humke                         R

Pat Little                               D

John Marvel                           R

Jim McGaughey                      R

John Norton                          D

John Petrak                           D

Coy Pettyjohn                        R

Bob Sader                              D

Scott Scherer                          R

Larry Spitler                          D

Gaylyn Spriggs                       R

Phil Stout                              R

Bob Wong                              R

Total: 23

NON SUPPORTIVE

Bernie Anderson                     D

Morse Arberry                        D

Douglas Bache                        D

Matt Callister                         D

Joe Dini                                 D

Jan Evans                              D

Vivian Freeman                      D

Val Garner                             D

Chris Giunchigliani                 D

Ken Haller                             D

Joe Johnson                           D

Bob Kerns                              R

Sandy Krenzer                        D

Joan Lambert                         R

Joe McGinness                        R

Gene Porter                           D

Bob Price                               D

Myrna Williams                      D

Wendell Williams                     D

Total: 19 D-Democrat     R-Republican

Last modified on Tuesday, 04 May 2010 14:47
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