Other legislation focuses on repaying ranchers for losses
By MITCH LIES
SALEM -- The Oregon House passed a bill that lumps in wolves with cougars and bears as animals identified in state statute that people can kill in defense of human life.
House Bill 3562 passed the House 51-7 April 21. It now is in the Senate.
Rep. Jefferson Smith, D-Portland, was one of seven Democrats to oppose the bill.
"Either it is doing nothing," Smith said when asked why he opposed it, "or it is doing something that I have questions about."
Rep. Mitch Greenlick, D-Portland, who also opposed the bill, said he believed it is unnecessary.
"Right now, if a wolf attacks you, you can kill it," Greenlick said. "This was symbolic legislation, and I didn't feel like supporting killing wolves."
In other wolf-bill activity, the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on April 20 moved a wolf compensation bill to the legislative budget writing committee with a do-pass recommendation.
House Bill 3560 creates a compensation program for ranchers suffering losses to wolves. The program would be administered by the Oregon Department of Agriculture and funds distributed through counties.
Any organization, individual or government entity can donate to the program, said Jim Welsh, lobbyist for the Oregon Cattlemen's Association, which developed the bill.
Ranchers also can use program funds to institute nonlethal wolf management techniques, Welsh said.
Two other wolf bills the cattlemen brought forward failed to move by the Legislature's April 21 deadline.
House bills 3561 and 3563 would have changed the state's wolf population objectives and allowed an individual to kill a wolf chasing livestock.
"They were going to affect the (Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan) and the governor's office didn't like them, and neither did the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife," Welsh said.
"They want the plan to work, and any changes made through the (Oregon Fish and Wildlife) Commission," Welsh said.