Wolf hearing gets off to tense start

Wolf in Snow

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A public hearing on a Republican bill that would end state wolf management efforts is off to a tense start.

Democratic Rep. Nick Milroy began the proceeding in front of the Assembly natural resources committee Wednesday by complaining that the bill's chief Assembly sponsor, Republican Adam Jarchow, didn't show up to address the panel. He said he was disgusted by Jarchow's absence. He said Jarchow proposed the bill simply to appeal to his conservative base as he heads into a special election for an open state Senate seat Tuesday. He questioned whether the committee's chairman, Rep. Joel Kleefisch, called the hearing simply to help Jarchow score political points.

That brought a stinging rebuke from Kleefisch, who promised the election has no bearing on the bill and the committee won't vote on the proposal until after the election is over.

Jarchow aides didn't immediately reply to an email inquiring why Jarchow didn't attend the hearing.

The bill would prohibit the Department of Natural Resources from spending any money to manage wolves other than to reimburse people for depredation. State law enforcement officers would be barred from enforcing any federal or state law relating to wolf management or that prohibits killing wolves.

Wisconsin wolves are on the federal endangered species list. The bill would be void if President Donald Trump's administration removes them from the list.

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