HB 333 would have required the state Game Commission to adopt rules for the issuance of hunting licenses, permits and tags to accomplish a reduction in the elk population proportional to reductions in livestock grazing allotments (due to animals per unit load) by federal land agencies.
SB 364 would have imposed restrictions on changing public lands from state to federal jurisdiction, thereby restricting the federal government’s designation of national monuments. It added the commissioner of public lands as a party to evaluate these changes and specified that national monuments be described by the smallest possible area needed to protect items of concern.
SB 268 would have prohibited coyote killing contests, which are defined as an organized or sponsored competition with the objective of killing coyotes for prizes or entertainment. It would not have prevented the hunting of coyotes or depredation control of coyotes.
HB 272 would have prohibited the import and sale of firewood from other states unless the firewood has been treated in a manner prescribed by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture. This would help prevent wood-borne pests or diseases entering NM from other states.
This bill would have prohibited a border wall from being built on state land between New Mexico and the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora. A border wall would be detrimental to the migration of land-based wildlife in the border region. There are ESA listed species of concern that would be impacted, e.g., jaguars.
HB 254 would have revised the way members of the Game Commission are appointed. In doing so, it would have reduced the effect of politics on appointments and increased the role of science based decision making.
SB 81 makes trafficking of animal species threatened with extinction a crime and establishes penalties. This will help preserve endangered species and also keep money out of the hands of international criminals.
The federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides key protections for vulnerable, threatened and endangered species, like the Lesser Prairie Chicken. The ESA also provides states with funding to assist with endangered species program implementation. While the goal of protecting the Lesser Prairie Chicken without federal intervention is laudable, the language resolving that all actions necessary be taken to shield public lands from ESA protections resulting from federal listing of the species raises concerns. If the Lesser Prairie Chicken is sufficiently protected through private and local actions, then the issue of federal listing becomes moot: no listing will be necessary. However, security of the species must be demonstrated. Opposing federal listing before the species has adequate populations, habitat and protections to ensure long-term viability is woefully premature. Moreover, should resources be necessary to support regional and local protection efforts, that funding may best be secured through ESA listing. Vote scored is the final passage on the House floor.
SB 253 prohibited contests for the purposes of coyote killing. It would have had no effect on hunting for fur or even trophies—it would simply eliminate the “contest” component, which arises when there are competitions, for example, to see who can kill the most coyotes. Votes scored are the final passage on the Senate floor and the Tabling motion in the House Agriculture, Water and Wildlife Committee.
HB 468 attempted to unconstitutionally remove the federal government’s ability to protect the Lesser Prairie Chicken under the Endangered Species Act or any other treaty or regulation, while establishing “state sovereignty” over the existence and management of the Lesser Prairie Chicken within New Mexico. The state does not have the constitutional right to undermine federal authority under the Endangered Species Act. Vote scored is the Do Pass motion in the House Agriculture, Water and Wildlife Committee and the Tabling motion in the House Judiciary Committee.