February 2, 2001

Brent Siegrist
Speaker of the House
State Capitol

Dear Speaker Siegrist:

I hereby transmit House File 43, an Act relating to the rulemaking authority of the Natural Resource Commission regarding the taking and possession of migratory birds.

I am unable to approve House File 43. The majority of Iowans do not support changing the current law to legalize dove hunting. My office has received contact from thousands of concerned Iowans regarding this issue, and my conclusion is that this policy is not right for our state at this time.

Hunting provides significant recreational and economic development opportunities throughout our state. We worked last year with the Legislature, allocating approximately $11.2 million toward the creation of the Clean Water Initiative. This investment is aimed at improving Iowa's water resources through the establishment of buffer strips, efforts to restore and construct wetlands, and expansion of water quality monitoring and watershed programs. A significant benefit of last year's initiative is the expansion and creation of wildlife habitat for enhanced recreational opportunities.

Taking our efforts one step further this year, I have proposed a program offering to reimburse landowners in exchange for allowing public access to acres enrolled in the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) through access agreements. Implementing this $1,250,000 program will further expand the availability of game and non-game species for recreational purposes such as hunting, birdwatching, fishing, and hiking. Under this program, we expand wildlife populations and opportunities for sports men and women without expanding the number of species open to hunting.

Unfortunately, since the beginning of the 2001 legislative session, the Iowa Legislature has expended a great deal of time and effort on this issue. This issue has now been decided. Iowans expect the Legislature to now focus on the issues important to Iowa's families. I urge all members of the Legislature to now turn their attention to the important issues of teacher compensation/student achievement, reducing abuse, and supporting efforts to raise the incomes of all Iowans.

For the above reasons, I hereby respectfully disapprove House File 43.


Thomas J. Vilsack

cc: Secretary of the Senate
   Chief Clerk of the House

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