Wyoming Governor Could Sign Law Giving Himself More Power
The office of Governor Gordon has released a draft executive order and sportsmen should be alarmed.
This executive order that had the potential to protect sensitive migration corridors instead is likely to unnecessarily divest power away from the Game and Fish Commission. If signed in its draft form, our wildlife, one of Wyoming resident’s most prized resources will undoubtedly be politicized.
Please send a letter and ask the Governor to keep the politics away from OUR wildlife!
In 1929 lawmakers created the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission. The Commission is a nonpartisangroup that works for wyomingites and our wildlife. The Commission has the statutory authority and requirement to manage game animals and provide for their protection. (W.S. 23-1-302 (B)) The commission is appointed through a process that balances political power and limits undue influence from any single party or ideology and can never be comprised of more than 75% of one political party.
If sportsmen and wildlife enthusiasts allow this Executive Order to go forward this will be the first time in over 90 years that the Governor’s office would have additional authority over wildlife decisions made by the commission. Why is this a problem?
State statute outlines the duties of the Governor in relation to the Commission.
Wyoming’s Governor is an ex-officio member of the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission giving him the right to discuss, debate, make decisions and vote on matters during meetings. (W.S. 23-1-201 (B)) The distinction of an ex-officio board member is provided to structure the method the Governor can and should influence policy within the Commission. It should be alarming to all Wyoming citizens when an elected official looks to give themselves more power instead of working within the structure set out by state law.
Let it be noted that during the Governor’s time in office, it is our understanding, Governor Gordon has not participated in a single Game and Fish Commission meeting. The Governor has an opportunity to influence corridor designation from within the commission with a vote. Instead of participating in the process outlined by law he is considering signing an executive order to give himself the authority to act unilaterally and take control away from the Game and Fish Commission.
So what else does the Executive Order do?
It specifically gives the extractive industry a chance to be involved and limit the designation of corridors but it does not specifically give sportsmen a seat at the table.
It fails to discuss migratory ungulates as a whole and allows only for the designation of deer and pronghorn corridors, completely avoiding the protection for elk, bighorn sheep, and other ungulates.
Caution should be taken in supporting this executive order which unnecessarily divests power away from the Game and Fish Commission. The expansion of executive power over wildlife allows one of the resident’s most prized resources to be politicized.
Please Send a Letter to the Governor with the form provided.
Because of the vast array of industries that are affected, the numerous government entities, and private stakeholders that are involved in finding solutions to protect migratory ungulates, this is best not done with an executive order or the stroke of a pen but instead through a committed and invested process of evaluating and finding soulutions to the situation at a personal and departmental level. We need the Governor to put some real effort into this.
We invite the Governor to personally attend all future Game and Fish Commission meetings to show commitment to our wildlife, our citizens, and to exercise the statutory duty as an ex officio board member of the commission.