OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5315 (as amended by House "A")*

AN ACT CONCERNING THE PREVENTION OF THE HABITUATION OF POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS ANIMALS AND THE STATUS OF SNAPPING TURTLES UNDER STATE LAW.

SUMMARY:

This bill expands the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) commissioner's regulatory authority to include prohibiting or restricting the feeding of bears and coyotes on property not owned by the state (e.g., private or municipal property). The commissioner already can adopt regulations regarding feeding wildlife on state-owned property, although none have been adopted.

As under existing law, a law enforcement officer may enforce the regulations. Current law makes any violation an infraction. The bill establishes a lesser penalty for a first-time de minimis violation occurring on property not owned by the state, for which officers must give the violator a written warning and educational materials. The regulations must authorize officers to determine what violations are de minimis in nature.

*House Amendment “A” (1) restricts the expansion of DEEP's regulatory authority over feeding wildlife on property not owned by the state by limiting it to bears and coyotes instead of “potentially dangerous animals”; (2) establishes a warning for certain de minimis first-time violations; and (3) eliminates a provision that generally prohibited, until regulations were adopted, commercial trade in snapping turtles.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

COMMITTEE ACTION

Environment Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

17

Nay

11

(03/04/2016)