From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 2, Number 43 - January 23, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Damage compensation bill filed, DUI bill moves forward

by Cat Urbigkit

Representative Monte Olsen of Daniel has agreed to co-sponsor legislation that could be helpful to livestock producers in the county whose herds are subject to depredations by grizzly and black bears.

House Bill 159 would change a portion of existing statute to address damages caused by trophy game animals. The legislation would authorize the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission to establish "methods, factors and formulas" to be used in determining the amount of compensation due to a producer for livestock "damaged, missing or killed by, or as a result of, trophy game animals."

WG&F has used a compensation formula to compensate producers in the Upper Green River region for missing livestock after experiencing losses to bears, but a recent Wyoming Attorney General's opinion advised that the commission wasn't authorized to use a formula. HB159 would resolve the issue by granting the authority to develop formulas if it so chooses.

Representative Stan Cooper of Daniel is making headway with his felony driving under the influence bill (HB118). Joined by Senator Delaine Roberts of Etna, Cooper brought forth a bill that would make the fifth conviction in seven years a felony, increasing potential jail time and times for those convicted of the offense. Supporters of the bill turned up for a legislative committee meeting and included associations representing county attorneys, sheriffs, highway patrolmen and police chiefs.

The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill, but amended it so that the felony offense kicks in upon the fourth conviction, not the fifth. It passed first reading by the full House on Tuesday.

Olsen was a member of the judiciary committee who voted for the bill.

"I'm not thrilled about creating more felonies," Olsen said, adding that he is interested in having more intervention before problems become chronic. "But I couldn't introduce that as an amendment because it wasn't germane to the bill."

Roberts is involved in several significant wildlife issues. Roberts, with co-sponsors including Cooper and Olsen, is sponsoring a senate joint resolution (SJR-7) which demands Congress "terminate the nonessential and experimental wolf introduction program, to remove this wildlife population from Wyoming, and to reimburse Wyoming citizens and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department for losses incurred under this program."

Roberts, Cooper, Olsen and Randall Luthi of Freedom, is sponsoring Senate File-97, which asserts the state's exclusive jurisdiction over wildlife and prohibits activities in conflict with that exclusive jurisdiction.

The Roberts' legislation proposes that the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission prohibit introduction, reintroduction or propagation of wildlife species by any person or agency except the WG&F Department. The legislation proposes that WG&F demand reimbursement from the federal government "and seek compensation by all means available for damages to Wyoming wildlife and wildlife habitat caused by any species, including endangered species, introduced within Wyoming under federal mandate or programs.

In addition, the WG&F Commission is to "require and demand the removal of such species introduced within Wyoming by the federal government."

For the proper purpose of managing Wyoming's wildlife, all federal agencies are to be notified that Wyoming has sole jurisdiction over any and all wildlife existing within Wyoming; and all county sheriffs are to be notified that any and all wildlife violations "are to be investigated by department personnel and Wyoming law enforcement officers and not by any federal agency official."

Senator Cale Case's instream flow bill has now been assigned a number for those wanting to track its progress. It is SF 72.

Sublette County is represented in the Legislature by Senator Larry Caller of Sweetwater County. His newly aligned District 14 includes parts of four counties, including Big Piney and Marbleton. Caller was recently appointed to fill this seat, which was left vacant by the resignation of Senator Mark Harris.

Caller said in a press release Monday: "I have been assigned to the Transportation Committee and the Education Committee for this legislative session. Although my first week in working for you has been hectic, I have had the opportunity to support a bill for funding multilane highways. One such road would connect Kemmerer with I-80 and another would run from Kemmerer to the Idaho border."

Wyoming Legislature

Bill status line (up to five bills per call) 1-800-342-9570

Voter hotline (vote for or against a bill) 1-866-996-VOTE

To request a return call from a legislator, call the receptionist in the correct legislative chamber. House receptionist 307-777-7852 Senate receptionist 307-777-7711

Sublette County's legislators

Rep. Monte Olsen, Plains Hotel in Cheyenne 307-638-3311, ext. 528

Rep. Stan Cooper, Hitching Post in Cheyenne 307-638-3301, ext. 224

Senator Delaine Roberts, Lincoln Court 307-638-3302, ext. 162

Senator Larry Caller, Hitching Post in Cheyenne 307-3301,

See The Archives for past articles.

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