A battle over renaming the California agency entrusted with managing fish and wildlife continues to boil in a state Senate committee, where it's being criticized by sportsmen and some lawmakers who contend it's equally anti-hunting and an enormous waste of taxpayers' money.
Further action on AB 2283, a measure that would change the California Department of Fish and Game to the Department of Fish and Wildlife is expected in the Senate Appropriation Committee this week, when lawmakers will discuss its estimated one-time cost of $368,000 to implement. The bill passed the California State Assembly on May 30 by a vote of 47 to 27.
While many assert the change would place an unnecessary additional fiscal burden on a state already floundering in red ink, still others see it as part of a larger agenda to reduce the agency’s role in hunting as a core mission.
You might have read about the battle over words in the August print edition of North American Hunter.
Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) and Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) both contend that changing the agency’s name would signal it is moving away from managing game for hunting and indicates a general lack of support for sportsmen.
“The goal of some in California, in the Legislature, would be to eliminate hunting as one of the core missions of the Department of Fish and Game,” Cannella recently told the Los Angeles Times.
Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Canada Flintridge), who introduced the bill, argues that the name change would better reflect the agency’s work, and specifies it would subsequently be known as “Cal Wild,” following the lead of Caltrans (Department of Transportation) and Cal Fire (Department of Forestry and Fire Protection).
The measure is presently being held under submission in the Senate Appropriations Committee while amendments are considered that would diminish its cost to taxpayers in an effort to make it more fiscally palatable.
The one thing working in favor of derailing SB 2283 is the calendar, as bills must go to the full Senate for a vote this week in order to meet the August 31 deadline to go to the governor for action.