37-314. Commission; rules and regulations; commission orders; powers; public hearing; notice; seasons; opening and closing; powers of commission; violations; penalty.

(1) The commission may, in accordance with the Game Law, other provisions of law, and lawful rules and regulations, fix, prescribe, and publish rules and regulations regarding the methods or type, kind, and specifications of hunting, fur-harvesting, or fishing gear used in the taking of any game, game fish, nongame fish, game animals, fur-bearing animals, or game birds. Such rules and regulations may be amended, modified, or repealed from time to time and shall be based upon investigation and available but reliable data relative to such limitations and standards.

(2) The commission may, in accordance with the Game Law, other provisions of law, and lawful rules and regulations, pass and publish commission orders regarding (a) conservation orders authorized by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, (b) open seasons and closed seasons, either permanent or temporary, (c) bag limits, including the age, sex, species, or area of the state in which any game, game fish, nongame fish, game animals, fur-bearing animals, or game birds may be taken, or (d) the taking of any particular kinds, species, or sizes of game, game fish, nongame fish, game animals, fur-bearing animals, and game birds in any designated waters or areas of this state. The commission may pass such commission orders after due investigation and having due regard to the distribution, abundance, economic value, breeding habits, migratory habits, and causes of depletion or extermination of the same in such designated waters or areas and having due regard to the volume of the hunting, fur harvesting, and fishing practiced therein and the climatic, seasonal, and other conditions affecting the protection, preservation, and propagation of the same in such waters or areas. The commission orders may be amended, modified, or repealed from time to time. Commission orders shall be based upon investigation and available but reliable data relative to such limitations and standards.

(3) The commission shall hold at least one public hearing in accordance with section 37-104 on each proposed commission order or amendment, modification, or repeal of a commission order and shall hold at least one public hearing in accordance with section 37-104, in addition to all other requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, on each proposed rule and regulation or amendment, modification, or repeal of a rule or regulation. The commission shall give notice of such hearing to the public at least thirty days prior to the hearing by posting it on the commission's web site. No commission order shall be valid against any person until fifteen days after such order has been posted on the commission's web site. Each rule, regulation, amendment, modification, and repeal shall specify the date when it shall become effective and while it remains in effect shall have the force and effect of law.

(4) Regardless of the provisions of this section or of other provisions of the Game Law which empower the commission to set seasons on game birds, fish, or animals or provide the means and method by which such seasons are set or promulgated and regardless of the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act, the commission may close or reopen any open season previously set on game birds, fish, or animals in all or any specific portion of the state. The commission shall only close or reopen such seasons by majority vote at a valid special meeting called under section 37-104 and other provisions of statutes regarding the holding of public meetings. Any closing or reopening of an open season previously set by the commission shall not be effective for at least twenty-four hours after such action by the commission. The commission shall make every effort to make available to all forms of the news media the information on any opening or closing of any open season on game birds, fish, or animals previously set. The commission may only use this special provision allowing the commission to open or close game bird, fish, or animal seasons previously set in emergency situations in which the continuation of the open season would result in grave danger to human life or property or to bird, fish, or wild animal populations. The commission may also close or reopen any season established by a conservation order under the same provisions pertaining to closing and reopening seasons in this section.

(5) Any person violating the rules and regulations adopted and promulgated or commission orders passed pursuant to this section shall be guilty of a Class III misdemeanor and shall be fined at least one hundred dollars upon conviction.

Source:Laws 1929, c. 112, III, § 1, p. 413; C.S.1929, § 37-301; Laws 1931, c. 70, § 1, p. 190; Laws 1937, c. 89, § 5, p. 292; C.S.Supp.,1941, § 37-301; Laws 1943, c. 94, § 5, p. 324; R.S.1943, § 37-301; Laws 1957, c. 242, § 31, p. 844; Laws 1972, LB 777, § 4; Laws 1972, LB 1284, § 14; Laws 1975, LB 489, § 2; Laws 1981, LB 72, § 13; Laws 1989, LB 34, § 12; R.S.1943, (1993), § 37-301; Laws 1998, LB 922, § 72; Laws 1999, LB 176, § 14; Laws 2009, LB105, § 3; Laws 2013, LB499, § 2.

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