On June 18, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown appointed two new members to the California Fish and Game Commission. Newly appointed Commissioners Eric Sklar and Anthony Williams will replace former Commissioners Michael Sutton and Richard Rogers, both of whom resided on the Commission despite well exceeding their official term limits.
Commissioner Williams comes from Huntington Beach, California. He was formerly director of government relations at the Boeing Company, and served as policy director and counsel to California Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg from 2010 to 2014. Commissioner Sklar comes from St. Helena, California. He is a former Napa Valley vineyard owner who served on the St. Helena City Council from 2003 to 2010.
Following their appointments, the NRA and its California affiliate, the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA), sent the new Commissioners a letter welcoming them to their new positions and calling to their attention three petitions that NRA and CRPA currently have pending before the Commission.
The first petition, requests the Commission amend certain regulatory provisions to address shortcomings with the current Conflict of Interest Code. Specifically, the petition seeks to have the entire Conflict of Interest Code published in the California Code of Regulations to allow the public easy access and give it the force of law. The petition also seeks to require that Commissioners disclose any potential conflicts of interest, including funds coming from non-profit organizations, because the law does not clearly require as much currently.
The second petition requests the Commission adopt protocols and procedures governing its Wildlife Resources Committee (WRC) meetings. As the petition explains, without formal guidelines for those meetings, many stakeholders are left uninformed. Previously, this allowed anti-hunting groups to take advantage of the chaos and push their agendas through the WRC with little opposition. While that is hopefully not a danger with two new Commissioners in place, it is best for all to have formal procedures in place for meetings discussing matters of such great public importance.
The most recent petition requests the Commission adopt formal regulations requiring Commission representatives to conduct business with all stakeholders or official Commission matters via government-issued communication means only. The petition seeks to avoid the difficult legal and practical questions that arise when public officials use personal communication platforms (e.g. personal email and cell phones) to discuss government business. The NRA and CRPA believe this petition if acted upon favorably, will help avoid the exclusion of any stakeholder group, allowing interested members of the public full access to the information being contemplated during the regulatory process.
As the letter explains, the NRA and CRPA believe that should the Commission adopt the actions requested in these petitions, it will help usher in a new and needed environment of trust between the Commission and the public that will allow the Commission to focus on matters of importance rather than political sideshows.
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TheNRA is working hard in California to fight for you in Sacramento, in cities and counties across the state, in regulatory agencies, and in the courts. Please help us fight for your right to choose to own a gun for sport, or to defend yourself and your family. You can support our pro-Second Amendment efforts in California by donating to NRA Legal Action Project. All donations will be spent to specifically benefit California gun owners.
Second Amendment supporters should be careful about supporting litigation or other efforts promised by other individuals and groups that lack the experience, resources, skill, or legal talent to be successful. The NRA’s national team of highly regarded civil rights attorneys, legislative advocates, and scholars has the experience, resources, skill and expertise needed to maximize the potential for victory in California’s often hostile political environments.
For a summary of some of the many actions the NRA has taken on behalf of California gun owners, including the Peruta case, click here.