Representatives of at least ten wildlife and outdoors organizations tell state senators to leave the conservation department alone. Senator Brian Munzlinger of Williamstown wants to double the size of the conservation commission with one commissioner from each of the eight conservation districts. He says the change, which will require voter adoption of a constitutional amendment, would improve communications with the public.”.
Munzlinger also says some production agriculture people should be on the commission, a position voiced by the Farm Bureau which wants at least half of the commissioners to be people directly involved with or knowledgeable about farming.
Executive Director Dave Murphy of the Conservation Federation of Missouri says 75 years of success by the department proves the commission needs no changes. He says it would be wrong for regional commissioners giving deference to constituents to people in the region instead of making statewide management of forest, fish, and wildlife as a top priority. Another federation official says the proposal is a Farm Bureau power grab.
Other opponents of Munzlinger’s bill say the Missouri conservation department is the envy of many states—because a four person commission with a statewide view avoids political manipulation that an eight-member regions-based board would face.