Time is running out.
With two weeks left in this year's legislative session, some wildlife bills are making progress, but most have a long way to go before reaching the Governor's desk. See our full legislative recap below:
SB 76 – Prohibit Coyote Killing Contests
Sponsors: Senators Jeff Steinborn and Mark Moores
Status: Two votes away from the Governor’s desk
SB 76 would make it illegal to organize, sponsor or participate in a coyote killing contest. It passed the Senate Conservation Committee, Senate Judiciary, and Senate floor. It passed the Senate floor 22-17, with Southern NM Senators Joseph Cervantes and Bill Soules voting for the bill, and Senator Mary Kay Papen voting against it. It passed the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee today, and is now headed for the House Judiciary Committee.
Take Action: Call the members of the House Judiciary Committee and urge them to vote yes on SB 76.
HB 366 – Wildlife Protection and Public Safety Act
Sponsors: Representatives Gonzales, McQueen, and Chandler
Status: Four votes away from the Governor’s desk
HB 366 would ban traps, poisons, and snares on public lands. It passed the House Energy Environment and Natural Resources Committee and House Judiciary Committee. In a surprise vote, newly-elected Representative Micaela Lara Cadena voted against the bill. It has yet to be heard on the House floor.
Take Action: Call your House representative and urge them to vote yes on HB 366. Find your representative here.
SB 417 – State Game Commission Mission and Purpose
Sponsors: Senator Jeff Steinborn
Status: Killed in Senate Conservation Committee
SB 417 would change the state's policy to protect all wildlife in the state (instead of just a subset of game species of interest to hunters and anglers), and grant the Game Commission and DGF authority to manage all wildlife species. Currently many species are unprotected under state law, including coyotes, prairie dogs, and most bats.
Southern NM Senators Bill Soules and Joseph Cervantes joined with the republicans on the committee to table the bill.
Take Action: The fight is not over to protect all of New Mexico’s wildlife. We are launching a two-year campaign to transform wildlife governance in our state. Read more here for more information and to get involved.
HB 263 – State Game Commission Changes
Sponsors: Representative Matthew McQueen
Status: Three votes away from the Governor’s desk
HB 263 would change the selection process and requirements for appointments to the Game Commission to make it more representative of the public and less susceptible to political influence. Currently all seven commissioners are appointed by the Governor, and can be dismissed by the Governor at any time without cause. This bill would give four seats to the legislature, establish requirements for those seats, and introduce staggered terms.
HB 263 passed its first two committees and the House floor by a 45 – 20 vote. It needs to pass Senate Rules and Senate Conservation Committees before heading to the Senate floor.
Take Action: Call members of the Senate Rules Committee and urge them to vote yes on HB 263.
SB 203 – Rename Dept. of Game and Fish as Wildlife Dept.
Sponsors: Senator Jeff Steinborn
Status: Five votes away from the Governor’s desk
SB 203 would rename the Department of Game and Fish to the “Wildlife Department” to reflect a broader mission that serves the interests of all New Mexicans, not just hunters and anglers. This bill passed the Senate Conservation Committee but is currently stuck in Senate Rules. It is unlikely that this bill will make it through the legislature this year.
Take Action: The Southwest Environmental Center is launching a two-year campaign to transform wildlife governance in New Mexico. Read more here and get involved.