SPONSOR: Childers (McBride)

COMMITTEE ACTION: Voted "do pass" by the Committee on State Parks, Natural Resources and Mining by a vote of 15 to 0.

This substitute requires expungement of court records for first offenses by individuals who plead guilty to or are convicted of class B misdemeanor wildlife violations. The expungement occurs upon completion of time served or payment of any imposed fine, but does not restore revoked or suspended wildlife permit privileges. The Department of Conservation may maintain records of the violation.

In addition to the existing class A misdemeanor charge, the substitute also requires anyone illegally taking or possessing an antlered deer to remit to the Conservation Commission an amount ranging from $500 to $7,500, depending on the deer's Boone & Crockett score. The commission may allocate up to 25% of the funds for grants that promote anti-poaching activities.

Further, the substitute requires courts to notify the commission if anyone fails to appear at a hearing or pay a fine for taking wildlife illegally. The commission may consider this information in permit suspension, revocation, or denial actions.

Finally, the substitute makes it a class A misdemeanor to knowingly release swine to live in a wild state on public or unfenced private land. Free- roaming hogs not conspicuously identified by ear tags may be killed without liability on public lands or on private lands with the permission of the landowner.

FISCAL NOTE: Cost to General Revenue Fund of less than $100,000 in FY 2001, FY 2002, and FY 2003. Income to Conservation Commission Fund of $60,833 to $912,500 in FY 2001, $73,000 to $1,095,000 in FY 2002, and $73,000 to $1,095,000 in FY 2003.

PROPONENTS: Supporters say that under current law, individuals can have a permanent criminal record for minor, first offense wildlife violations. This bill expunges those records, but allows the Department of Conservation to maintain records necessary to determine if the violation is a first offense.

Testifying for the bill was Senator Childers.

OPPONENTS: There was no opposition voiced to the committee.

Terry Finger, Senior Legislative Analyst