Joel has spearheaded the "Save Washington State Bass fishing" nonprofit. Here's his latest post:
Following is the update on our bill Senate Bill 6450 and House Bill 2666. Your support has been fantastic and we are going to push forward with this effort.
I talked to Senator. Mike Padden today – our bill sponsor along with Representative Bob McCaslin. Here is the recap.
· Our bill was the 6th on a final agenda to discuss and vote on February 19th – the senate debates bills etc. and then votes, one bill at time. The senate only got through 1 – 5. Law states that they have to end at exactly 5 pm so our bill did not get discussed because they hit the 5 pm deadline.
· Since this was the second year in the biennium that means for this year our bill is dead. Until we reintroduce it again next January. The good news is that the Natural resources committee of the senate voted unanimously ‘for’ our bill, as did the Senate Ways and Means Committee, so our bill was viewed a viable. The bad news was that the House Committee on Natural resources Chairman Brian Blake, would not allow our bill to come to a vote at the House committee level. His rationale was that the WDFW has over 50 Ad Hoc committees already and he did not feel they should have another. We did have a good conference call with him to explain that our Committee was not Ad Hoc (defined as, “as needed and temporary”) but focused on a longer term effort to build our sport to make a positive social and economic contribution.
· There are things we need to work on this year in preparation for 2021.
· Senator Padden suggested the following:
o He was amazed at what we were able to build from a grass roots level in such a short time frame and hopes we will continue with that same momentum.
o We form our Warm Water Committee anyway, on our own, and perhaps invite a member of the WDFW to attend our meetings, and demonstrate our interest in enhancing warm water fisheries.
o We move forward with organizing a fishing day for the Sportsmen’s Caucus with our folks. We can work with the National Sportsmen’s Caucus organization to get that done.
o We consider finding a lobbyist that can represent us to the legislature and guide our efforts.
o We reintroduce our bill again in January of 2021 and do this all over again to get it done.
Most importantly we need educate the legislators with regard to warm water fishing, and fishing in general. We need to remember that the majority of the State Senators and Representatives have little if any knowledge about warm water fishing or any kind of fishing at all. Something that is second nature to us is like a foreign language to them.
Remember, very few bills make it through the entire legislative process on the first try. We came closer than most thanks to the support and organization that we were able to create on the fly in support of our bill and thanks to the efforts of Senator Mike Padden, Representative Bob McCaslin and their staff.
I am certainly concerned with what the WDFW will do to our Warm Water fishing resource over the next year. It can be nothing good without a watch dog organization that has a voice.
Thanks for your support…close but no cigar! But if we really believe in doing something positive for our sport and for the State of Washington and its citizens we will not give up.