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The legislature finds that merger of the departments of fisheries and wildlife resulted in two criminal codes applicable to fish and wildlife, and that it has become increasingly difficult to administer and enforce the two criminal codes. Furthermore, laws defining crimes involving fish and wildlife have evolved over many years of changing uses and management objectives for fish and wildlife. The resulting two codes make it difficult for citizens to comply with the law and unnecessarily complicate enforcement of laws against violators.
The legislature intends by chapter 190, Laws of 1998 to revise and recodify the criminal laws governing fish and wildlife, ensuring that all people involved with fish and wildlife are able to know and understand the requirements of the laws and the risks of violation. Additionally, the legislature intends to create a more uniform approach to criminal laws governing fish and wildlife and to the laws authorizing prosecution, sentencing, and punishments, including repealing crimes that are redundant to other provisions of the criminal code.
Chapter 190, Laws of 1998 is not intended to alter existing powers of the commission or the director to adopt rules or exercise powers over fish and wildlife. In some places reference is made to violation of department rules, but this is intended to conform with current powers of the commission, director, or both, to adopt rules governing fish and wildlife activities.
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