SB33 overcame its first hurdle in the NM Legislature this week when it passed the Senate Conservation Committee on a 6-3 vote along party lines. The bill sponsored by Senator Bill Soules (D-Las Cruces) would provide money to the Department of Game and Fish (DGF) to do a study of potential new funding sources for the management of "neglected" wildlife, including nongame wildlife, species of greatest conservation need, and state threatened and endangered species.
Supporters of the bill far outnumbered opponents in the audience. A representative from the NM Farm and Livestock Bureau was the only member of the public to speak against it. Two Democrats on the committee, Peter Wirth and Joseph Cervantes, praised the bill as the appropriate first step towards expanding the authority and mandate of the DGF to include more species.
The bill goes next to the Senate Finance Committee, where a hearing has not yet been scheduled. Senate Finance is considered a difficult committee where many bills die, especially in a short session like this year.
photographed above: Executive Director, Kevin Bixby, speaks about SB33 during Climate Crisis/Environmental Lobby Day at the Roundhouse on Jan 28, 2020.