Why NM Legislators Should Vote for SB 33
Summary: Sponsored by Senator Bill Soules, SB 33 would appropriate $200,000 from the General Fund to conduct a study on potential funding mechanisms for an authority expansion of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to include the conservation of nongame wildlife species, state-threatened and endangered species, and species with the greatest conservation need.
History: There are no known similar bills from previous legislative sessions.
Why This Bill is Good for New Mexico
- The last NM Game & Fish Department biennial review (2018) of threatened and endangered wildlife in New Mexico included 116 species and subspecies.
- SB 33 passage will allow expanded legal authority for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to protect all non-game species and produce increased capacity to conserve endangered species.
- Many species require protection before they become extinct and the Department needs to shift their focus to wildlife beyond just game animals. The bill will provide adequate protection and management for all of New Mexico’s wildlife.
- Hunting and fishing are declining nationwide, and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish will need new, dedicated sources of funding that aren’t tied to hunting and fishing. Almost all of the Department’s revenues are generated by hunters and anglers for licenses or through federal excise taxes from selling firearms, ammunition or fishing tackle.
- A majority of New Mexicans who do not hunt or fish value and benefit from our state’s wildlife and intact ecosystems. Outdoor enthusiasts could be a new source of funds for contributing to the long-term health of our wildlife including, and especially, non-game species that are not killed for sport.
- This bill is a positive step forward to preserve our wildlife, foster responsible stewardship of our habitats, and create ecological balance.
- Climate change is endangering our natural ecosystems. Given this reality, past conservation models must be replaced with new, innovative approaches that will encourage wildlife stewardship.
Animal Protection New Mexico
New Mexico Wilderness Alliance
New Mexico Wildlife Federation
Defenders of Wildlife
Southwest Environmental Center