SB 268, to Ban Coyote Killing Contests, Introduced in Senate Along with Some Other Great Bills
Several wildlife bills supported by the Southwest Environmental Center were introduced in the New Mexico State Senate this week, three of which by Jeff Steinborn, Democrat of Doña Ana County.
First among them is SB 268, which would ban coyote killing contests, making New Mexico the first state in the country to do so. Coyote killing contests are not legitimate hunting and serve no predator management function. Republican Mark Moores of Albuquerque co-sponsored the bill. Click here to read SB 268.
SWEC is calling for action on SB 268. Click here to get involved with our grassroots campaign.
SB 266 was also introduced, which would grant the NM Game Commission authority to protect "all species of wildlife, including protected game species, furbearers, and non-game species." This is important, since the commission's current authority is limited to about 60% of the state's vertebrate species, including only 20% of mammals. New Mexico is one of the most biologically diverse states in the country, and all its species deserve legal protection. Click here to read SB 266.
Senator Steinborn finally put forth SB 267, which would reclassify coyotes and skunks as protected furbearers. As it stands now, these species are completely unprotected by state law. SB 267 would authorize the Game Commission to set bag limits and otherwise regulate the killing of coyotes and skunks. Click here to read SB 267.
A final Senate bill, SB 286, was introduced by Democrat Pete Campos of District 8, co-sponsored by Republican Gay Kernan of District 42, would ban trapping and poisoning on public lands. Trapping is an inhumane and dangerous practice, and it's not in the public's interest to allow it on our shared land. Click here to read SB 286.
SWEC is also keeping our eyes on HB 254, introduced by Democrat Matthew McQueen of District 50 in the House, which would alter the way the Game Commission is filled. Currently, commissioners are appointed by the Governor. HB 254 would require that four commission seats are filled by the Legislative Council, further mandating that some seats by occupied by scientists and conservationists. This would depoliticize the commission and help ensure that New Mexico's wildlife is managed according to the whole public's interest. Click here to read HB 254.
For more on SB 268, the bill to ban coyote killing contests, click here to view the press release written by Animal Protection Voters of New Mexico and so-signed by SWEC.