Monday, January 30th, 2023
Monday, January 30th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

State changes date for the 2007 spring hearings

Staff Report

Madison — State sportsmen who might be looking forward to the
2007 spring fish and game hearings will have to file their income
taxes early – this year’s date is Monday, April 16.

“We’re trying to work with the DNR to get this information out
to sportsmen to let them know about the changes,” said Conservation
Congress chairman Ed Harvey, of Waldo.

Sportsmen who regularly attend the hearings have gotten used to
marking off the second Monday in April as being the night to go
vote on DNR proposed rule changes and congress advisory questions.
That will change in 2007, due in part to the availability of
electronic voting machines, Harvey said.

“The State Elections Board has informed counties that they are
required to secure election results for a specified period of time
following any general or primary election. In 2007 the primary
election will take place on April 3. What this means for the DNR
and the Conservation Congress is that we will not have access to
the voting equipment used for tabulation of the results of the
hearing until this time has expired,” he said.

Under the former scenario, the spring hearings would have been
Monday, April 9 in 2007, according to AnnMarie Kutzke, DNR
assistant liaison to the Conservation Congress. Because of
“unforeseen legislative changes which went into effect in June of
this year (regarding voting machines), we are unable to hold the
spring hearings on the second Monday in April in 2007,” she
said.

Harvey and Kutzke agreed that the change likely will create some
confusion for sportsmen.

“We apologize for any confusion this may cause, but we feel that
this is the appropriate course of action to assure that the
automated ballot system put in place statewide in 2006 is again
utilized in 2007,” Kutzke said.

“It’s going to cause a lot of confusion,” Harvey said. “Now
April 16 is also tax day because April 15 is a Sunday in 2007. We
couldn’t have done more to hurt ourselves if we had tried.”

Ironically, the Conservation Congress had been looking at the
possibility of moving the hearing date anyway – but the congress
wanted to move it ahead, not back, at the request of the Natural
Resources Board.

“The board looked at the possibility of moving the spring
hearings up about one month,” Harvey said. “If we could do that,
then any rule changes passed at spring hearings could be in place
for hunting seasons that same year, instead of the following
fall.

“We were in the process of doing that (when we learned) of laws
changes (that) have to do with testing of ballot machines before
and after an election. That means those voting machines, which we
do not own, would not be available to us. So we had to go in the
opposite direction.”

Harvey said the congress will continue to work on the idea of
moving the hearings into March, or even possibly February, but he
said the spring hearing date will now be on the third Monday in
April for at least two years, and perhaps even three.

“We then believe we will be able to move the hearings to an
earlier date – into March for sure, possibly as early as around
March 1. The board has a good idea; we just can’t work it out right
now,” he said.

The spring hearings have been the second Monday in April since
the late 1980s or early 1990s. Prior to that, the hearing date had
been the first Monday in April for a long time, but that date
overlapped the NCAA Final Four tournament in the 1980s, so the date
was changed.

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