On April 25, the Colorado House of Representatives passed House Bill 1330. Championed by State Representative Jon Becker, House Bill 1330 would create an appeals process for Colorado hunters and anglers with suspended hunting or fishing licenses.
Specifically, the Bill would give a person with a hunting for fishing license suspension the ability to petition the commission of wildlife to reinstate their privileges. A hunter or angler could petition the commission up to three times after half of their suspension was served if the commission determines that the outdoorsman in question is unlikely to offend again, has maintained a clean record since receiving the suspension, and finally, only if the suspension is their first. In the alternative, if the suspension is a lifetime suspension, a person can only petition after 10 years of the suspension has been served.
If the commission determines that the suspension should be administratively ended, the Bill allows the commission to order a $300.00 maximum fee, 40 hours of service on wildlife projects, or the completion of an educational course to be determined by the Commission.
The Bill could completely change the legal landscape for first time violators. Prior to this Bill, a hunter or outfitter would face significant administrative penalties without an appropriate recourse. In Mr. Becker's own words, "[t]his bill gives hunters and anglers in Colorado an avenue for appeal they've never had before. House Bill 1330 affords sportsmen a hearing process that will help them pursue their passion for years to come if no wrongdoing can be found."
Not only does this bill give a hunter or angler the ability to continue to hunt or fish in Colorado, but it would also effect his or her rights in other states under the Wildlife Violator Compact. In other words, if a violation occurred in Colorado, the other 35 states could choose to adopt any suspension levied by Colorado. Similarly, if Colorado chooses to reinstate a hunter's privileges, other states will also likely be forced to consider the same. In fact, states across the board may begin following Colorado's lead.
House Bill 1330 now moves to the Senate for further consideration.
Stay tuned. We'll follow this one for you and keep you posted.
Cody Doig, Esq.