Wisconsin Sporting Heritage Council members sit on their hands during March 30 meeting
Madison — Wisconsin’s Sporting Heritage Council has some new members, yet is an enigma when it comes to taking a stand on something that might ruffle the feathers of the DNR or Scott Walker.
New on the council are: Kurt Thiede, the DNR's new deputy secretary who takes over for Scott Gunderson, who has been moved from the DNR to the Department of Revenue; Sen. Tom Tiffany, who takes over for Sen. Neal Kedzie; and Rep. Al Ott, who takes over for Rep. Jim Steineke.
Attending the first meeting of 2015 were Rob Bohmann, Ralph Fritsch, Mark LaBarbera, Ben Gruber (by phone), Scott Zimmerman, Mike Rogers, and Rep. Nick Milroy.
Not attending the meeting were: Bill Torhorst, Tiffany, Sen. Robert Wirch, and Ott.
During the March 30 meeting, Milroy suggested that the Council needed to go on record to oppose the drastic cuts that Gov. Scott Walker has proposed for natural resource management.
Those cuts include eliminating up to 18 DNR Science Services research positions, stripping regulatory authority from the Natural Resources Board, and eliminating Stewardship spending for many years.
Each person in attendance expressed concerns about one or all three of the governor’s proposed natural resources reductions.
The Council’s mission is to advise the governor, state legislature, and Natural Resources Board on hunting, fishing and trapping issues.
Milroy said it would be appropriate to adopt a resolution from the Council objecting to the cuts.
Members agreed, some noting they’d signed separate letters of opposition, yet nobody stepped forward to make a resolution.
Thiede, the Council's chairman, said he was hesitant to do that without the entire council being present, and their comments would be reflected in the minutes.
It’s worth noting that the meeting is chaired by a DNR employee and held in DNR offices.
The DNR may be the governor’s lapdog, but at least this council shouldn’t refrain from publicly taking a position objecting to the governor’s missteps that will affect hunting, fishing and trapping.
It could be debated what good a resolution would do in this, but if they really are supposed to provide advice to the governor and legislature, then this Council lost its opportunity prior to the budget’s adoption.