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Help Insure That VMRC is Properly Funded

Recreational fishermen banded together to object to the unfairness of Senate Bill 917, a bill that proposed to increase recreational and commercial saltwater fishing license fees. The bill was defeated in the Virginia House of Delegates on February 12th on a 31-yes to 64-no vote. We would like to thank every one of you who participated in the democratic process by contacting your legislators and providing them with your opinions.

However, most anglers objected because the bill was unfair: The objective was not to destroy the Virginia Marine Resources Commission's budget. We are asking you to help us in doing the right thing by letting the legislators on the Budget Compromise Committee know that you want to see VMRC properly funded. Their contact information is included below.

CCA believes that there are two major issues that still need to be addressed.

The first issue is to ask them to find the general funds required to provide the $1,239,235 that was to be funded with recreational and commercial fishing license increases. CCA is concerned that the critical natural resources management and enforcement tasks carried out by VMRC will see negative impacts if an appropriate funding source cannot be identified.

The second issue is that VMRC Enforcement Division had another $247,560 cut as part the proposed budget. They have been under funded for years, and this situation will make it worse. We need to maintain this professional enforcement agency equipped with the proper tools to get the job done. CCA has repeatedly asked for additional general funds for the Enforcement Division. We ask that you encourage the legislators to go beyond just restoring the $247,560 that was originally cut and find the additional funds required to adequately fund the enforcement branch. Only with a fully restored budget that includes additional funds do we feel that they can properly protect our natural resources, provide the public health enforcement, and fulfill their public safety missions. We do not need an enforcement agency that is hampered by a lack of logistical support or manpower.

Remember, there are two messages:

1. Restore the funding that was to be provided by the license increase bill.

2. Restore the $247,560 and provide additional funds to the VMRC Enforcement Department budget.

This will make sure that VMRC has an appropriate budget to do its job. The legislators will only know of your concern if you contact them, send them an email, fax or call the legislative hot line at by calling 800-889-0229 (698-1990 in Richmond). You need to act FAST this budget matter will be decided within the next few days. All faxes go to the same number 804-698-6310.

Delegate [email protected]
Delegate [email protected]
Delegate [email protected]
Delegate [email protected]
Delegate, [email protected]
Senator [email protected]
Senator [email protected]
Senator Stosch---------- [email protected]
Senator [email protected]

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The preceding was provided as a public service by the Coastal Conservation Association Virginia (CCA VA). Feel free it to forward it to your associates. If you have any comments concerning this issue, or would like to have your name added/removed from the distribution list send an email to [email protected] The CCA VA is a 501 C-3 charitable organization whose goal is CPR for fish…Conserve, Protect and Restore marine resources for the benefit of all Virginians.

CCA VA Fisheries Management Committee
 
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