Bill for Fish Management Fund on the move
House Bill 4193, Rep. Frank Mautino’s DNR Sustainability Bill, was placed on the schedule for a second reading and short debate today. At 3 p.m., I learned that floor amendment No. 1 was filed by Mautino, and that the bill was assigned to Rules Committee.
In other words, the bill is moving.
Enter retired DNR fisheries chief Mike Conlin. He is on the move, too. Conlin said today that DNR Director Marc Miller is not in support of the Fish Management Fund, a funding source that Conlin and others have been trying to get included in the DNR plan.
Conlin e-mailed this afternoon:
“On May 7, J.R. Black and I sent you information on the proposed Fish Management Fund, and ask you to immediately e-mail and/or call Rep. Frank Mautino and inform him that you want his DNR Sustainability Bill to include wording to establish a special fund to insure that monies from Fishing License Sales and Sport Fish Restoration are spent only on what they were intended to do.
“However, J.R. Black and I were both told last week by DNR Director Marc Miller that he is opposed to establishment of a Fish Management Fund. Director Miller obviously wants to continue to maintain control of how anglers’ dollars are expended as he has in the past, rather than having a fisheries professional make those decisions.
“Rather than support the Fish Management Fund, Director Miller ask us what we would think about raising the cost of fishing licenses by $5. We replied that we would be strongly opposed as that would just be throwing good money after bad and there would be no guarantee that that money would indeed go to the Division of Fisheries ( with the $2 increase in 2010, as well as in 2005…..when an additional $2.8 million of anglers dollars became available when the Jake Wolf and Little Grassy Fish Hatchery bonds were paid off……..”
“After talking with us and checking with some angler groups and finding no support, the Director backed off the Fish License Fee Increase idea. Director Miller said that Fisheries would be a priority after the DNR Sustainability Bill passed. We advised, that his word was not good enough and that Directors come and go every few years. We wanted an iron-clad guarantee that the monies presently being paid out each and every year by Illinois anglers would go for the purpose intended, which is obviously not now the case.
“So we are now asking for your help again. We must act very quickly as deals may have already been made which would facilitate this bill passing the House and Senate quite quickly to dance around anglers wanting the Fish Management Fund. We want residents to e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), or call Mautino (217-782-0140) to let him know how you feel about his non-support of the Fish Management Fund. “
As you can see, Conlin is passionate for this plan.