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Senator Steven Oroho

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Oroho, Space, and Wirths Call for Wildlife Management Areas to Fully Open

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LD-24 Legislators Say furloughing Fish & Wildlife Employees Will Not Save NJ Money

Senator Steve Oroho and Assemblymen Parker Space and Hal Wirths announced today they wrote to Governor Murphy asking him to stop the furlough of Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) employees and fully reopen Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). (Click here for PDF)

Emphasizing that fishing and hunting license fees pay the salaries of Bureau of Lands Management maintenance employees furloughed by Governor Murphy, Senator Oroho and Assemblymen Space and Wirths are calling for the reopening of Wildlife Management Areas. (SenateNJ.com)

“This move by the administration is not saving any money,” stated Oroho, the Senate Republican Budget Officer and Co-Chairman of the NJ Angling, Hunting and Conservation Caucus.  “The employees being furloughed are being paid from the New Jersey Hunters and Anglers Fund, not from regular state coffers.”

21 Bureau of Lands Management maintenance employees in the DWF are being forced to take furloughs.  Their funding comes from New Jersey’s sportsmen and sportswomen who pay the Hunters and Anglers Fund through licenses and other fees and Pittman-Robertson Act funds through a federal excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition.

“It makes no sense to furlough these employees and shut down WMAs,” said Space, a co-chairman of the NJ Angling, Hunting and Conservation Caucus.  “With many recreational opportunities still being closed or not operating at full capacity, the State should ensure that our precious natural resources remain open.”

This is not the first time the Murphy Administration has attempted to deprive residents of state-owned outdoor recreation.  In the Spring, without warning, they arbitrarily closed state parks and forests.

“We do know that Division of State Parks and Forests employees are exempted from the furlough to keep the parks and the forests open to benefit our residents – that same exemption should be given to employees of the Fish and Wildlife,” said Wirths, the Assembly Republican Budget Officer and a member of the NJ Angling, Hunting and Conservation Caucus.  “It is not only depriving residents of outdoor recreation but also depriving revenue from all the ancillary businesses dependent on people visiting and using these sites.”

The full text of the letter follows:

July 14, 2020

Dear Governor Murphy,

We ask that the 21 Bureau of Lands Management maintenance employees in the Division of Fish and Wildlife (DWF) that are paid through the Hunters and Anglers Fund and/or federal Pittman-Robertson Act funds be immediately exempted from the state employee furlough and report back to work so that all Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) are reopened.

The furloughing of these state employees will not save the State treasury any money.  It is unfair to New Jersey’s sportsmen and sportswomen who pay the Hunters and Anglers Fund through licenses and other fees and the Pittman-Robertson Act funds through a federal excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition.  In addition, the State of New Jersey should not be acting in a manner that puts this federal funding in jeopardy by closing WMAs.  With a large number of recreational opportunities still closed, it is vital that our WMAs fully open so opportunities to enjoy the outdoors this summer remain.

Staff within the Division of Park and Forestry received an exemption from the furlough.  We urge you to grant the DFW Bureau of Lands Management staff same exemption.

Thank you for your attention in this matter.

Sincerely,

Steven V. Oroho
Senator

F. Parker Space
Assemblyman

Harold J. Wirths
Assemblyman

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