CHAPTER 151

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 149

AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1 AND NO. 2

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 7 OF THE DELAWARE CODE BY ADDING A NEW CHAPTER 2 RELATING TO VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTION FROM STATE INCOME TAX REFUNDS OR A CONTRIBUTION TO BE ADDED TO STATE INCOME TAX PAYMENTS FOR THE SUPPORT OF NONGAME FISH AND WILDLIFE, NONGAME HABITAT AND NATURAL AREAS PRESERVATION PROGRAMS AND TO ESTABLISH A FUND FOR SAID PROGRAMS.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Title 7 of the Delaware Code, by adding thereto a new Chapter 2 to read as follows:

"CHAPTER 2. NONGAME WILDLIFE AND HABITAT PRESERVATION

PROGRAMS

§201. Findings

The General Assembly finds and declares:

(1) It is In the best interest of the State to preserve and enhance the diversity and aboundance of nongame fish and wildlife, and to protect the habitat and natural areas harboring rare and vanishing species of fish, wildlife, plants and areas of unusual scientific significance or having unusual importance to the survival of Delaware's native fish, wildlife, and plants in their natural environments.

(2) Rare and endangered species are a public trust in need of active, protective management, and that it is in the broad public interest to preserve and enhance such species.

(3) Historically fish and wildlife conservation programs have focused on the more recreationally and commercially important species and consequently, such programs have been financed largely by hunting and fishing license revenues and by the federal assistance based on excise taxes on certain hunting and fishing equipment. These traditional financing mechanisms are neither adequate nor fully appropriate to meet the needs of all fish and wildlife.

(4) It is the policy of the State to enable and encourage taxpayers voluntarily to support nongame fish and wildlife, nongame habitat, and natural areas preservation programs, Including rare plants protection, through contributions designated on state Income tax forms.

§202. Definitions

(1) "Nongame" is that fauna, including rare and endangered species, which are not commonly trapped, killed, captured, or consumed, either for sport or profit.

(2)"Department" means the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

§203. Preservations Programs; Voluntary Funding

(1) The Division of Revenue shall provide a space on the face of the Delaware income tax return form whereby an individual may voluntarily designate a contribution of any amount to the Delaware Nongame Fish and Wildlife, Nongame Habitat, and Natural Areas Preservation Fund established in S204 of this Title.

(2) The amount so designated by an individual on the income tax return form shall be deducted from the tax refund to which such Individual is entitled; or the amount so designated may be added to the individual's payment of taxes due and shall not be included in the general revenue of the State.

(3) The Division of Revenue shall determine the total amount designated pursuant to this Section and shall report such amount to the State Treasurer, who shall transfer such amount to the Delaware Nongame Fish and Wildlife, Nongame Habitat, and Natural Areas Preservation Fund.

(4) To accomplish the purpose of this Act, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, with the cooperation of the Division of Revenue shall use the Fund to provide adequate educational Information, including instructions which accompany State income tax return forms.

(5) This Section shall apply to taxable years beginning January 1, 1983.

§204. Preservation Fund

(1) In order to carry out the purpose of this Act, there is hereby created a special fund, which shall be known as the Nongame Fish and Wildlife, Nongame Habitat, and Natural Areas Preservation Fund of the Treasury of the State of Delaware.

(2) All monies received from the voluntary contribution system established in §203 shall be deposited in said Fund.

(3) The General Assembly shall make no appropriation into said Fund, but individuals may, from time to time, make contributions or bequests to the Fund.

(4) The monies contained in said Fund shall be continuously transferred to the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control for the exclusive purpose of carrying out the objectives of this Act.

(5) The distribution of monies among the subdivisions of the Department shall be determined by the Secretary of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

(6) The Department shall make an annual report to the General Assembly, which shall include the amount of funding derived from the contributions and a summary of projects undertaken in furtherance of this Chapter.

(7) From time to time as determined by the Delaware State Clearinghouse Committee, the Department shall submit a detailed report to members of the Committee of revenues, expenditures, and program measures for the fiscal period in question. Such report shall also be sufficiently descriptive in nature so as to be concise and informative. The Committee may cause the Department to appear before the Committee and to answer such questions as the Committee may require."

Section 3. Within two (2) years following the effective date of this Act, the Secretary of the Department shall develop a comprehensive management plan which shall establish the management objectives and policies of the Department, as related to Nongame Fish and Wildlife, Nongame Habitat, and Natural Areas Preservation programs. The Secretary shall review said plan periodically and make revisions thereto when necessary. The Secretary shall make the plan and any revisions thereto available for public review and comment at public hearings prior to adoption.

Section 4. An acts or parts of acts inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed to the extent of such inconsistency.

Approved July 13, 1983.