Bill to Protect Sportsmen’s Dollars Sent to Governor

Dec. 14, 2005

(Columbus) – A bill that prevents the diversion of hunting and fishing license dollars to pay for non-conservation programs today received unanimous support in the Ohio Senate.

In a victory for conservation and sportsmen, the Senate passed HB 367 by a vote of 32 to 0. The bill contains a provision to prevent sportsmen’s dollars from being used to pay administrative costs of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The bill now goes to Gov. Bob Taft’s desk.

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The system by which agencies of the ODNR contribute to administrative fees that it charges to each of its divisions is called Central Support. The state’s General Revenue Fund covers Central Support costs for most divisions within the department.

“The Senate’s unanimous approval of House Bill 367 is proof that Ohio citizens believe in the bill,” said U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Director of State Services Tony Celebrezze. “We want to thank the legislative leaders for making sure that millions of sportsmen’s dollars go where they belong – to support wildlife conservation programs.”

House Bill 367 was introduced by Rep. Charles Calvert, R-Medina, and co-sponsored by Rep. Steve Buehrer, R-Delta. It contains language that appeared in an Ohio budget bill that passed in June. The language had overwhelming support in the legislature, but was vetoed by Gov. Taft.

Commentary by Larry S. Moore:

HB 367 will make permanent the exclusion of the Division of Wildlife from paying indirect and direct central support monies. In other words, the hunting/trapping/fishing license fees that sportsmen pay will be solely dedicated to programs and "on the ground" work of the Division.

There are two parts to this issue that should not be intertwined. First is protecting the sportsmen dollars and second is funding the rest of the ODNR. Let's provide permanent protection for our dollars so we don't have to spend time and energy fighting that battle every budget cycle. Then we can turn our energies to streamlining the rest of ODNR.
We need to develop a constituent base and innovative methods of funding the other Divisions of ODNR.

Sportsmen should thank Reps. Calvert and Buehrer for taking the lead to bring one part of the issue to permanent closure.

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