- Associated Press - Saturday, November 19, 2016

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - Members of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation have adopted policies on special tax districts, wanton destruction of livestock and trespassing to gather antlers shed by deer.

Farm Bureau members approved a policy opposing giving counties more authority to close districts that collect taxes for a specific purpose. Increasing incidences of livestock being shot and killed in Wyoming and other states also prompted the organization’s members to approve a policy seeking tough penalties for the wanton destruction of livestock.

The policy positions on the issues and others were approved during the organization’s annual meeting this month.

“Our members expressed concern about potential legislation that would give county commissioners additional authority to initiate the process to dissolve a special district,” Executive Vice President Ken Hamilton said. “While we recognize there needs to be a mechanism for dissolving special districts, we also have to recognize in many instances there are laws on the books that will already help facilitate this process.

“Many of these special districts were created to accomplish different public purposes, and our members feel it would be important that the members of those districts have a say.”

Brett Moline, the federation’s director of public and government affairs, said Wyoming law allows for 28 different types of special districts and there are over 650 special districts within the state.

Concern with increased incidences of hunters seeking antler shed by deer trespassing on private lands led to support for expanding state Game and Fish statutes to regulate the activity under hunting and fishing laws.

“This authority would make it so people gathering shed antlers on private property without the landowner’s consent could be charged with trespass similar to hunting trespass,” Hamilton said. “Under current Game and Fish statutes, the hunting trespass law provides that it is presumptive knowledge the individual that is hunting should know where they are at while hunting, which makes fining them for trespass easier. The same should be true for trespass while collecting shed antlers.”

The federation members also adopted a policy opposing the federal government’s efforts to create separate speed limits in Wyoming for commercial vehicles and non-commercial vehicles. “Requiring commercial trucks to travel slower than other vehicles on the roadway could increase traffic hazard on the roads,” Hamilton said.

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