TWF Testifies Before Special Joint Legislative Study Committee

Committee Formed to Study Possible Improvements to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

Tennessee Wildlife Federation (TWF) Executive Director, Michael Butler, testified today before the Special Joint Legislative Study Committee of the Tennessee General Assembly.  The Committee was formed to study possible improvements to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) including, but not limited to, the issues of state and federal funding sources and how the Agency is governed and managed.

The Study Committee consists of Co-Chair Senator Lowe Finney (D-27) and Senators Doug Jackson (D-25), Bill Ketron (R-13), and Jamie Woodson (R-6) for the Senate and Co-Chair Representative Joe McCord (R-8) and Representatives Kent Williams (R-4), Craig Fitzhugh (D-82), and John Tidwell (D-74) for the House. 
The hearing began with Nat Johnson, Assistant Executive Director for Staff Operations at TWRA speaking on behalf of the Agency.  The hearing continued with an overview of the Agency’s authority, governance, structure, programs and budget.  Mr. Butler’s testimony then followed. 
“These are tough times for all areas of federal, state and local governments,” stated Mr. Butler.  “However, they are particularly difficult for TWRA, and it is my hope that this Special Committee can help identify new funding sources that are vital to the future of Tennessee’s wildlife and natural resources.” 
Mr. Butler began his statements with a history of the agency and wildlife conservation.  “In 1949 the Tennessee Wildlife Federation (known then as the Tennessee Conservation League) worked with Governor Gordon Browning to draft legislation that created the Tennessee Game and Fish Commission,” he testified.  “It was from these beginnings that the TWRA began and from 1949 to today, the Tennessee Wildlife Federation has challenged the agency when needed, defended her when necessary and helped her navigate through times of change,” Mr. Butler continued. 
Mr. Butler then asked the Committee to consider several points while examining the agency, including adequacy of funding, how TWRA’s unique place in government helps the Agency accomplish its mandate and to identify the challenges that may prevent the Agency from meeting its mandate in the future.

For updates on future meetings of the Special Joint Legislative Study Committee, check back on TWF’s website.