For the latest on IP3, click HERE

 

OHA will back omnibus bill for Oregon wildlife; CWD funding, wildlife crossings support included in package

House Bill 4148, a wildlife “omnibus” bill, seeks funding for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) efforts, the Invasive Species Council, efforts to reduce human-wildlife conflict, and also  expands wildlife crossings policies. The comprehensive bill has bipartisan support and is led by Representative Ken Helm (D-District 27), chair of the House Agriculture, Land Use, Natural Resources, and Water Committee. 

In the 2023 session, OHA’s bill seeking CWD funding passed out of Chair Helm’s committee with a unanimous vote and “do pass” recommendation to the Ways & Means Committee. Unfortunately, the bill was not passed by that committee and therefore died at the end of the session. OHA is excited to get a second chance at securing the much-needed CWD funding through HB 4148 and has made it the top priority for the 2024 session. 

The 2024 session is a “short session,” beginning on Feb. 5 and adjourning on March 10. This abbreviated six-week length makes it difficult to pass bills with large financial components such as HB 4148’s $6.7 million price tag. However, OHA is encouraged by the bill’s approach to addressing chronically underfunded aspects of wildlife health and optimistic regarding the large and diverse group of stakeholders already in support of the bill.

Measure 114 found unconstitutional, components blocked

Harney County Judge Raschio issued his ruling on November 21 regarding the Measure 114 litigation at the state level, permanently blocking the measure’s implementation and ruling it as unconstitutional. Two major factors contributed to his findings, the permit to purchase scheme of Measure 114 and the the ban on the sale, transfer, and manufacture of magazines holding more than 10 rounds. The State is expected to appeal the ruling which will likely end up before the Oregon Supreme Court.

IP3 proponents eye 2026 Ballot

IP3 proponents have gathered almost 31,000 signatures in their efforts to put the egregious, ridiculous, and downright offensive initiative petition that would ban legal hunting, fishing, and trapping on the 2024 ballot. In addition criminalizing hunting, fishing, and trapping, the initiative would also criminalize wildlife management efforts, education and research with animals, and even trapping vermin such as mice and gophers. It would also effectively end farming, ranching, and eating Oregon-grown animal products such as meat, dairy, and seafood.

However, even with the influx of funding received earlier this year and the initial efforts to gain the signature threshold (120,000) to make the ballot, it appears the proponents are now looking to the 2026 election. Initiative Petition 28 (IP28) has been filed with the Secretary of State for the 2026 ballot and is a new iteration of the language that began as IP13 in 2020 and returned as IP3 in 2022. With few substantial changes, IP28 rolls forward the IP3 efforts to 2026 and gives them three years to continue their plans to take this extreme agenda to Oregonians.

OHA continues to lead the opposition to this proposed measure so stay tuned for more information.

IP3 information and updates are located HERE

 

2023 Legislative Session – A long and arduous session yields victories in the final hours.

The 2023 Legislative session came to a close on Sunday, June 25, and while not successful in securing a ballot referendum to constitutionally protect the right to fish, hunt, harvest, and gather, the sportsmen’s community had several major victories. 

HB 3086, the bill to restructure the map by which ODFW Commissioners are selected, passed with an unanimous vote in the House and a near unanimous vote Senate.  After working all session to keep this bill alive, the unanimous passage of this bill is notable and should be considered a substantial milestone for the bill supporters. 

The ODFW commission was previously aligned to congressional districts plus two at-large positions, one eastside and one westside. The new statute bases all positions in the river basin regions with two commissioners each from the Northwest and West Central Regions, and one commissioner each from the Southwest, North Central, and Eastern Regions. This provides greater representation to the eastern portion of the state and ensures we will no longer have three, or more, commissioners centered in the Portland area. 

The bill had two public hearings in which sportsmen and women around the state submitted over 1,000 pieces of written testimony in support. Additionally, Howl For Wildlife’s action alert system garnering over 3,000 interactions and generating nearly 51,000 individual emails to legislators over the course of the session. 

OHA partnered with other sportsmen’s organizations, natural resource organizations, and livestock producers to build a united front of stakeholders supporting the bill. A huge factor in it’s passage were the six federally recognized Tribes in support: Coquille Indian Tribe, Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, Confederated Tribe of Siletz Indians, Confederated Tribe of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians, Burns Paiute Tribe, and the Confederated Tribe of Grand Ronde. The support of six tribes made this bill historic as the first pieces of legislation to ever garner such a level of support from sovereign nations.

The bill also had immense bipartisan and bicameral support with 30 bill sponsors. Chief sponsors were: Rep. Bobby Levy (R – District 58), Sen. Hansell (R – District 29), Rep. Owens (R – District 60), Rep. Hartman (D – District 40), Rep. Emerson Levy (D – District 53), Sen. Brock Smith (R – District 1).  Regular sponsors were: Representatives Boice (R – District 1), Boshart Davis (R – District 15), Bynam (D – District 39), Cate (R – District 11), Diehl (R – District 17), Gomberg (D – District 10), Goodwin (R – District 4), Heib (R – District 51), Lewis (R – District 18), Lively (D – District 7), McIntire (R – District 56), Morgan (R – District 3), H. Nguyen (D – District 48), Osborne (R – District 2), H. Pham (D – District 36), Sanchez (D – District 43), Stout (R – District 31), Wallan (R – District 6), Walters (D – District 37), Wright (R – District 9), Senators Anderson (R – District 5), Bonham (R – District 26), and Meek (D – District 20).

Defeating a bad bill is a victory in itself. From further restrictions on hunting with hounds and criminalizing fur sales to restrictions of managing predatory animals, the engagement of sportsmen and women around the state were instrumental in defeating or modifying five bills that would have had detrimental outcomes. 

OHA’s bill seeking new funding for establishing in-state testing for chronic wasting disease was not included in the final budget bill of the session. However, there were other financial wins for wildlife and rural Oregonians. In addition to the $5 million appropriated for further investments in wildlife crossings, the Minam River Wildlife Area Acquisition Phase II funding was approved, and the Mule Deer Coordination position was funded in a permanent status. 

In a session that at times appeared to be one obstacle after another, the voices of sportsmen and women around the state were ultimately heard, making a substantial, and positive, difference in many outcomes. 

 

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