Starting in May 2020, the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission will implement new procedures for its quarterly Commission meetings to improve efficiency, increase public input and reduce costs.
The Commission is a nine-member board, comprised of volunteers who serve four-year terms after being nominated by licensed hunters and anglers, appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Kentucky senate. The Commission recommends hunting, fishing and boating regulations on behalf of the sportspersons of the Commonwealth. It also hires and advises the Commissioner.
The Commission discussed the change in meeting format at its Jan. 31, 2020 meeting.
Commission members, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife staff and the public will continue to propose changes to administrative regulations or statutes related to fish and wildlife or boating.
Historically, proposals often have been introduced and discussed in committee meetings then voted on by the full Commission at its next meeting.
Under the new format, any proposals slated for action by the Commission will have undergone a multi-step review and public involvement process.
The new meeting format will standardize these steps for most regulation proposals brought to the Commission and allow at least six months from the time a proposal is introduced as new business to the time of Commission action.
The process for proposing new regulations or amendments will be essentially the same, but committee meetings will be replaced with less formal working groups. Working groups will be used to establish a more deliberate vetting process to improve efficiency.
The process for reviewing and taking action on proposals will be slowed down to allow more time for research and public input.
Proposals will be vetted by working groups comprised of Commission members, agency staff and in many cases external stakeholders. Vetted proposals may then be proposed as new business in a Commission meeting. Next, previously proposed new business items will be discussed at the subsequent meeting for possible action at the next quarterly meeting; motions may be drafted at the table or sometime before the next meeting. Finally, action items are presented as motions and voted on by the Commission at the next meeting.
By law, the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission must meet in Frankfort at least four times each year.
In the new format, the first half of quarterly Commission meetings will be reserved for opening proceedings, special presentations and action items. The Commission will either vote on the motions or table them for further consideration.
In the second part of the meeting, vetted proposals will be introduced as new business and scheduled for discussion at the next meeting. Discussion items - proposals brought forward at a prior meeting - will be discussed and may be put on the agenda for decision at an upcoming meeting.
There will be a public comment period at each meeting. Anyone wishing to address the Commission must sign in before the meeting and will have 3 minutes to speak.
In the previous format, committee meetings were held about 30 days before the next Commission meeting, often giving the public approximately one month to consider the proposals put forth and offer feedback. The new process generally expands that timeframe to 180 days or more.
The new meeting structure allows for greater transparency, as items on Commission meeting agendas will be posted well in advance. The new format will also save money on travel costs for Commission members, staff, and stakeholders.
The Commission may still address time-sensitive or routine needs in a more compressed timeline. Examples may include regulations to address emerging disease outbreaks or routine items that require annual action, such as setting migratory bird regulations that are subject to yearly U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service review.
Video of the Jan. 31, 2020 Commission meeting is available via the “Commission and Committee Meeting Archive” link under “Important Info” on the department’s homepage.