I was told that the purpose of the Montana Legislature is to debate and pass legislation on taxes and the budget, so why then do representatives and senators even consider bills on policies for state agencies. Shouldn’t agencies like Fish, Wildlife, and Parks come to the Legislature with their own budgets and ask for the money they need to implement policies, for instance on wolf management? Instead we are watching a slew of bills concerning wolf eradication work their way around the Legislature: aerial hunting, hunting at night, killing wildlife with vehicles, and a bill to guarantee wildlife killing contests, to name a few.
Jennifer Fielder, the chair of the fish and game committee, is an avowed proponent of wolf eradication. Why are her blatant views of this and other natural resources the avenue for wolf management policies in the Legislature? Where is the wildlife biology and game management research that should be the foundation for management? Taking agency policies out of the legislative process and returning the legislature back to taxes and budget debates is essential for 2021.