Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Walker signing wolf hunt bill

April 2, 2012

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wolves could be hunted in Wisconsin for the first time and schools would have to do more to prevent youth concussions under a pair of bills Gov. Scott Walker signed into law Monday.

Walker held three public bill signings across the state, the first at an elementary school in Wausau and the last at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. He signed the wolf hunt bill at a dock maker in Woodruff.
The new wolf hunting and trapping season will run from mid-October through the end of February. If applications exceed the number of licenses, the Department of Natural Resources would issue half of the licenses at random and the other half through a preference point system.

Wisconsin wolves came off the federal endangered species list last year, freeing state officials to manage them as they see fit. Walker said in a statement the state's wolf population has grown to more than 800 animals and a hunt will help farmers protect their livestock.

"The DNR is ready to put the rules in place that will allow them to reduce the herd to a healthy, sustainable level," the governor said.

Walker signed the youth concussion bill, which has the support of the National Football League, at Lambeau. The measure, which passed the Legislature with bipartisan support, requires that athletes who suffer apparent head injuries during games or practices be immediately removed and not allowed to resume playing without the written clearance of a health care provider who has examined them.
It also requires the state Department of Public Instruction, in conjunction with the Wisconsin

Interscholastic Athletic Association, to develop guidelines and other information to educate coaches, athletes and parents about the risks of concussions and other head injuries.

The NFL has been lobbying states to pass similar laws even as it is being sued by former players and others blaming the league for concussion-related dementia and brain disease.

Earlier this year, when the bill was stalled in the Senate, longtime Green Bay Packer offensive lineman Mark Tauscher came to the Capitol where he joined high school athletes, doctors and others to push for passage.

The Wisconsin bill was modeled after Washington state's 2009 "Zackery Lystedt Law," which was named for a middle school football player who sustained brain damage after he suffered a concussion and returned to play.