PROVIDENCE – The Senate has passed legislation that would make Rhode Island the 40th member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, an agreement between states that promotes uniform wildlife law enforcement across state boundaries.
The compact will help ease the “undue burden of the legal process” for hunters, trappers and anglers convicted of wildlife violations, according to Sen. Catherine Cool Rumsey, D-Exeter, who introduced the bill in the Senate at the request of the R.I. Department of Environmental Management.
Under the compact, a person who is cited for a wildlife violation such as a fishing or hunting infraction in a state other than their own faces a number of legal hurdles. He or she is either required to post bond or collateral immediately, stay in custody until bond or collateral is posted or go to court for an immediate appearance.
A person cited for a violation in their home state can accept the citation at the scene and be immediately on their way. With the addition of the compact, a person cited for a violation in any member state would be treated as a resident of that state, and would be allowed to take their citation on-site.
Additionally under the compact, license suspensions in one member state could be recognized by all other member states. If a person loses a hunting license in Rhode Island, for example, all other member states can treat this as if the person lost the license in their state as well. •