Let these lawmakers know: Don’t play politics with conservation funding

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Rep. Doug Holder was among three state lawmakers a PTTS lobbyist suggested might withhold FWC funding if commissioners voted to approve a measure designed to curb foul hooking of tarpon in Boca Grande Pass.

A number of you have asked how to reach out to the three lawmakers who were mentioned by PTTS attorney and lobbyist Timothy P. Atkinson in his remarks to the seven Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission members in Lakeland. As you know, Atkinson threatened that Rep. Doug Holder, Sen. Bill Galvano and Sen. Jack Latvala could potentially use their powerful committee posts in Tallahassee to withhold vital funding for the FWC unless the commissioners did as the PTTS demanded.

Atkinson invoked the names of these legislators and their control of the FWC purse strings while threatening to sue the seven commissioners on behalf of the PTTS and others unless they voted down a proposed regulation designed to curb intentional foul hooking of tarpon in Boca Grande Pass.

As many of you have noted, playing politics with FWC funding is a slap in the face to conservation-minded sportsmen throughout Florida. The FWC plays a critical role in conserving and protecting our fisheries – including Boca Grande Pass. You have asked how to go about letting these three lawmakers know proposing further cuts to an already lean FWC budget is both irresponsible and potentially disastrous. Or, as one of you wrote, “don’t play politics with fish and wildlife conservation in Florida.”

We agree.

If you’d like to make your voice heard on this important matter, here’s how:

 

Rep. Doug Holder

Rep. Doug Holder, as the PTTS lawyer noted, is chairman of the House Regulatory Affairs Committee. His district is centered in Sarasota County, and includes the communities of Venice, North Port and parts of Englewood. You can send him a message using the provided contact form by clicking here.

 

Sen. Bill Galvano

Sen. Bill Galvano is a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. His district is comprised of DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, and parts of Charlotte, Highlands, Hillsborough, and Manatee counties. A link to his contact form can be found here.  On the left side of the page you will see “Email The Senator.” Clicking on this link will take you to a contact form. UPDATE: Sen. Galvano’s office has contacted a number of those who wrote to say he now supports the proposed gear restriction and will be writing a letter expressing his support to the FWC. A letter is also being sent to Mr. Atkinson. There has, to our knowledge, been no response from Rep. Holder or Sen. Latvala.

 

Sen. Jack Latvala

Sen. Jack Latvala serves with Sen. Galvano on the same Senate Appropriations Committee. His district is comprised of parts of Pinellas County. To write him, click here.  As with Sen. Galvano, you’ll find a link to “Email The Senator” on the left side of his page. Clicking on it will take you to a similar contact form.

It’s encouraging to know that you are willing to take the time to ask these lawmakers to clarify their positions on funding for the FWC, to disavow the PTTS lobbyist’s threats attached to their names and to remind them “don’t play politics with fish and wildlife conservation in Florida.”

Comments

  1. says

    Dear Senators,
    Last week I had the opportunity to sit in on the FWC meeting (June 12, 2013) in Lakeland, Florida. The meeting was for the sole purpose to to define the terms and conditions as to which tarpon may be caught in the pass of Boca Grande. During this meeting Attorney TImothy P. Atkinson made an overt threat to the commission board that he would file suit against the commission and its members on behalf of the PTTS and others if the regulations were passed. He also stated that he would call on you gentleman, Senators Doug Holder, Bill Galvano and Jack Latvala to withhold funding to the FWC. This is appalling and disgraceful. The FWC seeks to serve this state and the community for the betterment of all. May we all continue to support the FWC and the difficult job that they have on their plate every day. I am sure they did not enjoy the threat of Mr. Atkinson as it was not an empty one. Thank you for your time.

  2. Captain Van Hubbard says

    Congratulations you three have shown why we removed your control as much as possible from Conservation decisions. you choose special interest over conservation and ethics. be glad to help on your not re election! fix things at home before you push your special interests
    down here, please.

  3. Kevin Kelley says

    Senators, I am having trouble understanding your logic. This is in regards to your intentions of disrupting the funding stream to the FWC over a minor modification of one piece of tackle used in a small site specific pre spawn area called Boca Grande Pass. This is an effort to improve the pre spawn aggregation of the tarpon fishery without banning the gear or persons that fish with it. This proposal will not effect any legitimate effort to catch a tarpon here , but will greatly decrease the chance of foul hooking a tarpon with the same gear presently used by moving the orientation of the hook on said gear. I would like you to explain by reply to your constituents why conservation is not your first concern. Thanks Kevin Kelley

  4. says

    Senators, Please do not cut allocations for conservation. Without conservation, our community will become a wasteland. Support the FWC in their efforts to preserve the pass of Boca Grande. My children , grandchildren and great-grandchildren are counting on you!

    Thank you!

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