"Hunting, fishing and trapping have always been a core component of our heritage and livelihood and this bill clearly expresses the Legislature's intent to continue the protection of our rights," Murkowski said.
The bill, sponsored by Representative Mike Kelly (R-Fairbanks), creates greater statutory clarity by directing the Commissioner of Fish and Game and the Boards of Fish and Game to adopt regulations and enforce state statutes consistent with the natural resources principals set out in the state Constitution.
The bill is similar to a hunting measure introduced in Michigan in 2004 and expands on language found in several other states to include protection of fishing and trapping. Alaska Outdoor Council Vice-President and Fairbanks resident Dick Bishop brought the Michigan legislation to Representative Kelly's attention.
Following the signing, Representative Kelly commented, "I appreciate Dick bringing this to my attention. HB 75 provides the Administration and Fish and Game boards a clear policy statement that hunting, fishing, and trapping are protected activities. This new language became necessary because of outside interests who seek to restrict or eliminate our rights to hunt, fish, and trap."
Rep. Mike Kelly represents House District, which includes the areas of Chatanika, Chena Hot Springs Road, Farmer's Loop, Fox, Goldstream, and Two Rivers.