PA 08-144—sHB 5855

Environment Committee

Judiciary Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING HUNTING OF MOOSE AND BEAR AND THE DISCARDING OF FISHING LINE OR OTHER LITTER IN THE WATERS OF THE STATE

SUMMARY: It is illegal to hunt moose or bear in Connecticut. This act increases the penalties for illegal hunting of these animals and requires the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) commissioner to suspend or revoke a violator's hunting license. It allows the commissioner to designate an open season on these animals according to law.

The act requires all sport fishing licenses to state that anyone who intentionally discards fishing line or other litter (1) on private property belonging to another person, (2) in state waters, or (3) on state public property will be fined for littering. The statement must be conspicuous and either accompany, or be printed on, the license.

By law, the penalty for littering is a fine of up to $199. A person who litters in a state park or forest, or any other publicly owned land open to the public for recreation, must also pay a surcharge of half the fine.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage, except for the provision on fishing lines and other litter, which takes effect October 1, 2008.

INCREASED PENALTIES FOR ILLEGAL BEAR OR MOOSE HUNTING

It is illegal to hunt moose or bear in Connecticut (Conn. Agency Regs. 26-66-3(f)). By law, hunters who illegally hunt animals may be fined up to $200, imprisoned for up to 60 days, or both (CGS 26-71). The act increases the penalty for people who illegally hunt moose or bear. The new penalty for first-time offenders is a fine of at least $500, imprisonment for up to 90 days, or both. Second-time offenders face a fine of at least $750, imprisonment for up to 120 days, or both; and third-time and subsequent offenders face a fine of at least $1,000, imprisonment for up to 180 days, or both.

Hunting License Suspension and Revocation

The act requires the DEP commissioner, upon conviction for illegal bear or moose hunting, to suspend (1) a first-time violator's hunting license for at least one year, and (2) a second-time offender's hunting license for at least two years. She must revoke the hunting license of a third-time or subsequent offender.

BACKGROUND

Litter Law

By law, anyone who violates the littering law may be fined up to $199. One-half the fine must be paid to the municipality in which the arrest was made, unless a DEP officer or patrolman made the arrest, in which case one-half the fine must be paid to DEP. The other half of the fine must be paid to the state.

In addition, the court must also impose a surcharge on people convicted of littering on public land, equal to one-half the amount of the fine. The surcharge must be paid to the municipality in which the arrest was made, unless a DEP officer or patrolman made the arrest, in which case the surcharge must be paid to DEP. Public land is defined as a state park or forest, municipal park, or any other publicly owned land open to the public for active or passive recreation (CGS 22a-250).

OLR Tracking: PF: KS: JL: ts