Summary of Enacted Legislation Thursday, July 17, 2003 |
Several pieces of legislation that affect the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife statutes were signed into law by Governor Baldacci during the First Regular Session of the 121st Legislature.
New laws that were not enacted as "emergency" take effect September 13, 2003, or have an effective date specified in the law. However, some of the fish and wildlife related changes were enacted as emergency legislation and have already gone into effect.
I'll first discuss emergency legislation that affects our department.
A. (L.D. #1319 - Public Law Chapter 20) An Act Making Unified Appropriations and Allocations for the Expenditure of State Government (Budget Bill)
Several changes were made to our statutes in this bill (mostly minor, technical changes not worth mentioning) as well as other changes as follows:
This is the budget document for Fiscal Year's 2004 and 2005. This document contains the 'Temporary Assessment' on licenses, permits and registrations. Effective July 1, 2003, the registration rate for ATV's increased to $33 for residents and $69 for non-residents. Effective January 1, 2004, a $3 increase is imposed on every license, permit, application, registration (other than ATV) or other fee that is issued for the periods beginning January 1, 2004 and January 1, 2005. These temporary assessments were enacted in lieu of the 18% general fund appropriation that was anticipated and are due to sunset December 31, 2005, at which time it is expected that the 18% general fund contribution will replace these fee increases. The bill also allows nonresidents to purchase multiple 10-chance options for moose permit applications for 3 application periods (through 2005).
B. (L.D. #359 - Public Law Chapter 189) An Act Relating to ATV Registration
This bill repeals the section of statute that allowed for reciprocal privileges for ATV registrations to non-residents of certain states. This legislation also directs this Department to develop and implement an ATV law enforcement grant-in-aid program to assist law enforcement agencies other than the Bureau of Warden Service. An increase in ATV registrations was also contained in this bill but was addressed in Paragraph A. (12 MRSA Section 7854, subsections 3-A (new), 4 and 9)
C. (L.D. #1635 - Public Law Chapter 491) An Act Concerning Illegal Introduction of Fish into Maine Waters
This bill addresses several sections of the statutes that deal with the illegal introduction of fish species into public waters by enacting a long-standing regulation into statute -- "Except as otherwise provided [by law], any fish legally taken from inland waters pursuant to [the statutes], except baitfish and smelts, must be immediately released alive into the waters from which it was taken or must be killed at once. Any fish killed pursuant to this section becomes part of the daily bag limit." By placing this in statute, it becomes a criminal violation. In addition, violation of the laws pertaining to the importation or transportation of live fish or gametes and stocking private ponds, without a permit, now carry the same penalty as stocking inland waters without a permit (Class E, except that the fine may not be less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000). Any person found violating these laws will also have their fishing license revoked for a period of at least one year and may have other licenses and permits revoked as well. (12 MRSA Sections 7077, subsection 1-B, Paragraphs A and B-1, 7604-A, 7901-A, subsections 5 and 10).
D. (L.D. # 647 - Public Law Chapter 484) An Act to Prohibit Personal Watercraft on Lake St. George in the Town of Liberty
This law prohibits the operation of personal watercraft on Lake St. George in the Town of Liberty (12 MRSA Section 7801, subsection 35, paragraph GG)
E. (L.D. # 875 -- Public Law Chapter 139) AN ACT to Promote and Advance Wild Ring-necked Pheasant Propagation
This bill directs the Department to implement a rule creating a fall hunting season for male pheasants that prohibits the taking of female pheasants in WMD 24. (We are in the first step of implementing this rule). (12 MRSA Sections 7106-B and 7472)
F. (L.D. #1482 - Public Law Chapter 403) An Act to Revise Certain Provisions of Maine's Fish and Wildlife Laws
1) A definition of "aquarium" has been added to Title 12 for the purposes of importing and possessing non-native and exotic species. Aquarium means "an enclosed container, having a closed operating system, for purposes of displaying fish or other aquatic organisms that is located within a home, exhibition building or other permanent all-season structure and that does not allow the discharge of water or aquatic organisms into the inland waters of the State". (12 MRSA Section 7001, subsection 1-H)
The following are law changes that were NOT emergency legislation and therefore do not become effective until 90 days after the Legislature has adjourned. These will take effect September 13th.
2) All-terrain vehicles have been added to the section of statute dealing with municipal ordinances. In summary, a municipality may not enact any ordinance, law or rule regulating the hunting, trapping or fishing for any species of fish or wildlife; the operation, registration or numbering of watercraft, snowmobiles, or all-terrain vehicles, except on municipal property and on rights-of-way and easements held by the municipality.
3) Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) has been established as a program under the Department's umbrella, for purposes of sponsoring programs, establishing fees for participation and being able to accept money, goods and services in support of the program. (12 MRSA Section 7035, subsection 22).
4) The Department is authorized to issue complimentary licenses to fish for persons with acquired brain injuries, as part of a rehabilitation program initially, and then for their lifetime if they wish to obtain one. (12 MRSA Section 7076, subsection 13-A).
5) The Department now has the authority to charge a reinstatement fee for licenses that have been revoked for failure to comply with child support orders. The fee will be $25 and must be paid in order for the license to be re-issued. (12 MRSA Section 7079-B, subsection 3).
6) Beginning January 1, 2004, migratory waterfowl hunting permits will be issued for a calendar year (Jan. 1 - Dec. 31) rather than July 1 - June 30. Permits issued in 2003 will be valid for the 2003-2004 migratory waterfowl season. (12 MRSA Section 7109, subsection 4).
7) Lifetime Trapping Licenses are now available for infants ($150), juniors ($300) and seniors (graduated scale for ages 65 - 69) similar to existing lifetime licenses. In addition, the fee structure for senior resident combination licenses has been corrected so that a person purchasing a combination of 3 licenses at age 68 will pay $52 rather than $62 and the fee for purchasing at age 69 will be $26 rather than $46. The original fees were established in error. (12 MRSA Section 7161).
8) The law regarding smelt wholesaler's licenses has been amended to exempt those licensees who fish with hook and line only from the No. 14 grader requirements. (12 MRSA Section 7171, subsection 4, paragraph C).
9) The commissioner now has the authority to adopt a rule to include provisions for moose permittees who are selected for a permit but unable to use the permit (i.e., medical conditions, emergencies, etc.) (12 MRSA Section 7463-A, subsection 12).
10) The time period for keeping an unregistered turkey has been changed to be consistent with other big game animals (18 hours rather than 12 hours). (12 MRSA Section 7469, subsection 6).
11) Wild turkeys have been added to the section of statute that deals with restraining or controlling nuisance dogs in regards to chasing, pursuing, killing or wounding moose, deer and now, wild turkey. (12 MRSA Section 7505, subsection 3).
12) The law now requires that bait or baitfish must be provided for sale in biodegradable paper or cardboard containers. (12 MRSA Section 7606, subsection 1-A).
13) Several changes have been made to the snowmobile laws as follows: a) It is now a requirement that snowmobilers must stop or yield the right-of-way on private ways maintained for travel (i.e., private driveways); b) Operating at a reasonable and prudent speed is now required on ALL trails rather than just trails that are part of the statewide snowmobile trail system; c) The law regarding unlawfully permitting operation of a snowmobile has been amended by striking the words "knowingly permits" from the law. It now reads: A person is guilty of unlawfully permitting operation of a snowmobile if that person is the parent or guardian responsible for the care of a minor under 18 years of age who operates a snowmobile in violation of the law. (12 MRSA Section 7827, subsections 5, 6, 10 and 21.
14) Indian Pond in the town of Greenwood, Oxford County has been added to the list of waters where the operation of personal watercraft is prohibited. This water was inadvertently omitted from the law that was enacted in 1999. (12 MRSA Section 7801, subsection 35).
A. (L.D. #460 - Public Law Chapter 54) An Act to Encourage Dog Tracking of Wounded Big Game Animals
There may be other pieces of legislation that have either not been received or were overlooked at the time this summary was prepared. I will make every attempt to notify you if that occurs and will be publishing a supplement to the biennial (Title 12) in the very near future. If you have questions or interest in any of the pieces of legislation listed, please feel free to call me at 287-5201 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This law authorizes a person who holds a license to use leashed dogs to track wounded deer, moose or bear to charge a fee for that service and clearly states that if that is the only service they are providing, they are not a guide. The bill also amended the law to include moose and bear. Prior to this change it was only allowed for tracking wounded deer. (12 MRSA Sections 7101 and 7112)
B. (L.D. # 82 - Public Law Chapter 27) An Act Regarding Fish Stocking Decisions
This bill repealed a section of law that required the Department to hold public meetings to solicit input whenever the management objectives on a water or group of waters that support a major fishery was being changed. (12 MRSA Section 7013-A)
C. (L.D. # 26 - Public Law Chapter 21) An Act to Create the Maine Youth Conservation Wildlife Management Area
This piece of legislation creates the Maine Youth Conservation Wildlife Management Area in T32 MD, Hancock County (Pickerel Pond). The Maine Youth Conservation Association arranged a lease from International paper to the Department for the land surrounding Pickerel Pond and erected a building to be used for youth education programs. The lease encompasses nearly 22 acres around Pickerel Pond in T32 MD. The regulations on the pond currently restrict fishing to young people under the age of sixteen. (12 MRSA Section 7652)
D. (L.D. # 354 - Public Law Chapter 122) An Act Relating to the Operation of Snowmobiles
This bill requires any person under 18 years of age to wear protective headgear while operating or riding a snowmobile on trails that have been funded by the Snowmobile Trail Fund identified by the Department of Conservation. (12 MRSA Section 7827)
E. (L.D. #860-Public Law Chapter 336) An Act to Allow Smelt Fishing in Long Lake in Aroostook County
This piece of legislation opens Long Lake and its tributaries that are within T17 R3, Aroostook County to the dipping of smelts, with a daily bag limit of 2 quarts per person. Commercial harvest of smelts is prohibited. This provision is repealed on 12/31/05.
F. (L.D. #786 -- Public Law Chapter 330) An Act to Provide "Any-deer" Permits to Permanently Disabled Non-ambulatory Persons
This bill allows for the transfer of antlerless deer permits to persons with ambulatory disabilities (suffering from the loss of, or the permanent loss of the use of, both lower extremities.
G. (L.D. #106 -- Public Law Chapter 276) An Act Regarding Alewife Harvesting
This bill amends the statutes to allow for the harvest of alewives, by permit, with the use of trap nets, dip nets, spears or fish pumps. The amendment also allows the commissioner to place conditions on the usage of gear allowed and may prohibit or restrict the use of any gear used to concentrate species for harvest.
H. (L.D. #1170 -- Public Law Chapter 440) An Act to Redefine "Muzzle-loading Firearm"
This bill does what the title implies. There are now 3 definitions for muzzleloading firearms: muzzleloader, traditional muzzleloader, and muzzleloading shotgun. This was done so that, at some point, seasons could be established based on the different types of muzzleloader.
I. (L.D. #123 -- Public Law Chapter 480) An Act to Allow Hunters to Exchange Assigned Hunting Areas or Zones with Other Hunters
This bill allows for the swapping of zones or areas for moose permits and antlerless deer permits. A $5 transaction fee will be charged for the swap and the arrangements must be made by the permit holders prior to contacting the Department to administer the swap.
J. (L.D. #25 -- Public Law Chapter 258) An Act Imposing a Horsepower Restriction for Boat Motors on Pickerel Pond
This bill restricts motors to 10 horsepower or less on Pickerel Pond in T32 MD, Hancock County. This pond is located within the newly-established Maine Youth Conservation Wildlife Management Area described in Paragraph C, above.
K. (L.D. #1061 -- Public Law Chapter 269) An Act to Amend the Filing Requirements for Special Hide Dealers
This bill repealed the requirement that hide dealers had to file a report with the Department by February 1st of each year of all hides bartered or sold. The law now requires that the licensee retain records for at least 3 years and make them available for inspection if requested.
L. (L.D. #1280 -- Public Law Chapter 277) An Act to Improve Boating in Maine
This bill changes the noise limit law for boats by allowing for testing to occur, with and without cutouts engaged, in order to determine whether the watercraft exceeds the 90 decibel level for a stationary sound test and 75 decibels for operational tests. (12 MRSA Section 7801). This bill also prohibits the discharge of septic fluids from watercraft into inland waters. (38 MRSA Section 423)
M. (L.D. #806 -- Public Law Chapter 331) An Act to Simplify the Requirement for Tagging, Registering and Transporting Harvested Animals
This law was enacted in an attempt to simplify and make consistent, the requirements for tagging, registering and transporting legally harvested animals. This piece of legislation repealed in excess of 35 sections of the law and enacted a new subchapter dealing with tagging and registering wild animals and wild birds. The new provisions will be included in the supplement to the biennial due out towards the end of August.
N. (L.D. #1083 -- Public Law Chapter 333) An Act to Encourage Hunting by Simplifying Hunting Laws.
This bill was submitted by the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine (Pickering Commission recommendations). The Department worked with SAM to consolidate a number of bills into one simplification bill containing 24 sections. In summary, the bill caps agent fees at $6 for a single transaction (one or more licenses or permits issued to a person, in that person's name). The legal hunting hours are changed, for consistency to ½ hour after sunset for all wild animals and wild birds (except migratory waterfowl and wild turkeys). For purposes of computing sunrise and sunset times, the location has been changed from Augusta to Bangor. The law now makes it a clear that a person may assist another person in a hunt without a license or permit as long as that person does not carry hunting equipment or engage in driving deer. Under archery hunting laws, mechanical broad-heads (when open) are now included in the provision that arrowheads must be at least 7/8 inch in width. A person may shoot from a motorboat if that boat is not being propelled by its motor. The law has been clarified in regards to possessing more than one deer, bear or moose by making it clear that it is lawful to keep more than one legally obtained deer, bear or moose in a person's freezer. Possession of gift bear, deer, moose, and wild turkey laws have been simplified and consolidated into one section of statute and requires only that the gift be labeled with the name of the person who registered it and the year the animal was registered.
O. (L.D. #1456 -- Public Law Chapter 280) An Act to Establish the Landowners and Sportsmen Relations Advisory Board
The Landowner and Sportsmen Relations Advisory Board, which had been a functioning group for several years is now officially established in statute. This too will be fully contained in the supplement. (12 MRSA 7038)
P. (L.D. #237 -- Public Law Chapter 73) An Act to Improve the Coyote Control Program
This bill repealed the existing statute regarding coyote control and enacted the Department's policy as statute. Full text of this law will be included in the supplement to the biennial.
Q. (L.D. #303 -- Public Law Chapter 113) An Act to Increase Protection for Endangered and Threatened Species.
This bill separates prohibited acts regarding endangered and threatened species into two categories: negligent (Class E crime) and intentional (Class D crime). Full details will be contained in the supplement.
R. (L.D. #1592 -- Public Law Chapter 410) An Act to Amend the Department of Corrections' Laws Pertaining to Juvenile Offenders
This bill enacts the following into Title 12 Part 10 (IF&W law): Notwithstanding other provisions of law, a person who has not attained 18 years of age and who is convicted of a crime for a violation of a provision of this Part (Title 12) that is not defined as a juvenile crime under Title 15, section 3103, subsection 1 may not be sentenced to imprisonment. (12 MRSA Section 7003).