PA 16-27—sSB 139

Environment Committee

Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE AUTHORITY OF THE COMMISSIONER OF ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION TO ESTABLISH A TROUT STAMP AND A RESIDENT GAME BIRD CONSERVATION STAMP AND AMENDING CERTAIN HUNTING AND FISHING FEES FOR RESIDENTS LESS THAN EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE

SUMMARY: This act makes various changes to the laws governing fishing and hunting. Among its provisions, the act:

1. expands the types of birds that a person with a migratory bird conservation stamp can hunt and increases, from $13 to $17, the maximum fee the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) can charge for the stamp;

2. requires a person seeking to hunt resident game birds to buy a DEEP resident game bird conservation stamp, which the act establishes;

3. requires the DEEP commissioner to adopt regulations establishing a three-day bird hunting license for out-of-state residents; and

4. authorizes the commissioner to adopt regulations establishing a trout permit, tag, or stamp, which anyone fishing in Connecticut would have to purchase in addition to the general fishing license, and authorizes DEEP to charge up to $10 for it.

Additionally, the act reduces the fee DEEP charges a child younger than age 16 for a hunting, trapping, or fishing permit, tag, or stamp by 50%, rounded to the next higher dollar ( 2). Existing law already reduces the fee by 50% for children age 16 or 17.

The act also makes technical and conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016

1 & 3-5 — MIGRATORY AND RESIDENT GAME BIRD STAMPS

Migratory Birds ( 1 & 3)

Under existing law, anyone age 16 or older wishing to hunt or take waterfowl in Connecticut must obtain a hunting license and a migratory bird conservation stamp. Waterfowl, a subset of migratory birds, generally include ducks and geese.

The act increases, from $13 to $17, the maximum fee DEEP may charge for the stamp, and it expands the types of birds that hunters with a stamp may hunt to include all migratory birds, not only waterfowl. Migratory birds generally include birds that spend the summer in northern latitudes and the winter in southern latitudes. These include waterfowl, certain webless waterbirds (e. g. , rails and coots), and certain webless upland birds (e. g. , woodcocks and snipes).

Resident Game Birds ( 1 & 3-4)

Prior law authorized the DEEP commissioner to establish by regulation a pheasant permit, tag, or stamp and charge up to $28 for it. The act instead requires anyone wishing to hunt or take any resident game birds to obtain a DEEP resident game bird conservation stamp, in addition to a hunting license, which the law already requires. Resident game birds, which stay in the area year-round, generally include an array of commonly hunted birds, including pheasants, crows, wild turkeys, ruffed grouse, prairie chickens, partridges, and quail.

The act:

1. requires the commissioner to arrange for the design, production, and procurement of the resident game bird conservation stamp and adopt regulations for issuing it;

2. authorizes him to reproduce the stamp as a print or related artwork for sale; and

3. establishes $28 as the maximum fee DEEP can charge for the stamp.

Voluntary Donations ( 3)

Under existing law, the DEEP commissioner must establish a program allowing people to voluntarily donate $2 or more for the conservation of migratory birds. Donations must be deposited in a subaccount in the state's migratory bird conservation account. The act requires the commissioner to expand the program by also accepting voluntary donations of $2 or more for the conservation of resident game birds. It renames the account the migratory bird and resident game bird conservation account. Any donations received must be deposited in the subaccount.

Migratory Bird and Resident Game Bird Conservation Account ( 4)

The act adds to the funds that DEEP must deposit in the renamed account, which the state treasurer must maintain as a separate, nonlapsing account in the General Fund. Under existing law, DEEP must deposit fees received from the sale of migratory bird stamps and related artwork and voluntary migratory bird conservation donations. The act requires that DEEP also deposit fees received for selling resident game bird stamps and related artwork, voluntary resident bird conservation donations, and license fees collected from the new out-of-state bird hunting license (see 6 below).

The act expands the purposes for which the funds in the account and subaccount may be used. Existing law requires that the funds be used for (1) developing, managing, preserving, conserving, acquiring, purchasing, and maintaining waterfowl habitat and wetlands and (2) purchasing or acquiring recreational rights or interests related to migratory birds. Under the act, funds must be used in the same ways for migratory and resident game birds. As under existing law, the account funds may also be used for designing, producing, promoting, procuring, and selling artwork related to the stamps.

Citizen's Advisory Board ( 5)

The act expands the functions of the citizen's advisory board, which advises the DEEP commissioner on the design, production, and procurement of the migratory bird conservation stamp and the use of funds in the conservation account. Under the act, the board must also advise him on the design, production, and procurement of the resident game bird conservation stamp.

Prior law required that the seven-member advisory board, which the commissioner appoints, include people active in migratory bird or wetland habitat conservation. Under the act, the board must instead include people active in migratory or resident game bird or habitat conservation. By law, board members may, instead of such activity, have expertise or knowledge pertinent and valuable to the program.

6 — OUT-OF-STATE BIRD HUNTING LICENSE

The act requires the DEEP commissioner to adopt regulations establishing a three-day bird hunting license for nonresidents to hunt migratory and resident game birds in Connecticut. He must charge $35 for the license, which is in addition to any permit or stamp required by law. All license fees collected must be deposited in the migratory bird and resident game bird conservation account described above.

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