Be it Enacted by the People of the State of Arkansas. That the following shall be an amendment to the Constitution:
Section 1. The control, management, restoration, conservation and regulation of birds, fish, game and wildlife resources of the State, including hatcheries, sanctuaries, refuges, reservations, and all property now owned, or used for said purposes and the acquisition and establishment of same, the administration of the laws now and/or hereafter pertaining thereto, shall be vested in a Commission to be known as the Arkansas State Game and Fish Commission, to consist of eight members. Seven of whom shall be active and one an associate member who shall be the Head of the Department of Zoology at the University of Arkansas, without voting power.
Section 2. Commissioners shall have knowledge of and interest in wildlife conservation. All shall be appointed by the Governor. The first members of the Commission shall be appointed by the Governor for terms as follows: One for one year, one for two years, one for three years, one for four years, one for five years, one for six years, and one for seven years. Each Congressional District must be represented on the Commission.
Section 3. Upon the expiration of the foregoing terms of the said Commission, a successor shall be appointed by the Governor for a term of seven years, which term of seven years shall thereafter be for each member of the Commission. No Commissioner can serve more than one term and none can succeed himself.
Section 4. Each Commissioner shall take the regular oath of office provided in the Constitution and serve without compensation other than actual expenses while away from home engaged entirely on the work of the Commission.
Section 5. A Commissioner may be removed by the Governor only for the same causes as apply to other Constitutional Officers, after a hearing which may be reviewed by the Chancery Court for the First District with right of appeal therefrom to the Supreme Court, such review and appeal to be without presumption in favor of any finding by the Governor or the trial court.
Section 6. Vacancies on the Commission due to resignation or death shall be filled by appointment of the Governor for the unexpired term within thirty days from date of such vacancy; upon failure of the Governor to fill the vacancy within thirty days, the remaining Commissioners shall make the appointment for the unexpired term. A Chairman shall be elected annually from the seven members of the Commission to serve one year.
Section 7. The Commission shall elect an Executive Secretary whose salary shall not exceed that of limitations placed on other constitutional departments; and other executive officers, supervisor, personnel, office assistants, wardens, game refuge keepers, and hatchery employees, whose salaries and expenditures must be submitted to the Legislature and approved by an Act covering specific items in the biennial appropriation as covered by Article XVI, Section 4 of the Constitution.
Section 8. No person shall be employed by the Commission who shall be related to any of the Commissioners or any other State officers within the third degree of relationship by blood or marriage. All employed personnel may make arrest for violation of the game and fish laws.
The fees, monies or funds arising from all sources by the operation and transaction of the said Commission and from the application and administration of the laws and regulations pertaining to birds, game, fish and wildlife resources of the State and the sale of property used for said purposes shall be expended by the Commission for the control, management, restoration, conservation and regulation of the birds, fish and wildlife resources of the State, including the purchases of other acquisitions of property for said purposes and for the administration of the laws pertaining thereto and for no other purposes. All monies shall be deposited in the Game Protection Fund with the State Treasurer and such monies as are necessary including an emergency fund shall be appropriated by the Legislature at each legislative session for the use of the Game and Fish Commission as hereto set forth. No monies other than those credited to the Game Protection Fund can be appropriated.
All money to the credit of or that should be credited to the present Game Protection Fund shall be credited to the new Game Protection Fund and any appropriation made by the Legislature out of the Game Protection Fund shall be construed to be for the use of the new Commission and out of the new Game Protection Fund.
The books, accounts and financial affairs of the Commission shall be audited by the State Comptroller as that department deems necessary, but at least once a year.
Resident hunting and fishing licenses, each, shall be One and 50/100 Dollars annually, and shall not exceed this amount unless a higher license fee is authorized by an Act of Legislature.
The Commission shall have the exclusive power and authority to issue licenses and permits, to regulate bag limits and the manner of taking game and fish and furbearing animals, and shall have the authority to divide the State into zones, and regulate seasons and manner of taking game, and fish and furbearing animals therein, and fix penalties for violations. No rules or regulations shall apply to less than a complete zone, except temporarily in case of extreme emergency.
Said Commission shall have the power to acquire by purchase, gifts, eminent domain, or otherwise, all property necessary, useful or convenient for the use of the Commission in the exercise of any of its duties, and in the event the right of eminent domain is exercised, it shall be exercised in the same manner as now or hereafter provided for the exercise of eminent domain by the State Highway Commission. All laws now in effect shall continue in force until changed by the Commission. All contracts and agreements now in effect shall remain in force until the date of their expiration.
This amendment shall not repeal, alter or modify the provisions of any existing special laws under the terms of which a County Game Commission has been created:
The Commission shall be empowered to spend such monies as are necessary to match Federal grants under the Pittman-Robertson or similar acts for the propagation, conservation and restoration of game and fish.
The amendment shall become effective July 1, 1945.
(Proposed by Initiated Petition. Voted upon and approved at General Election, November 7, 1944. For 115, 214; Against 72,797)