VICTORY! Judge Declares Washington Game Commissioner Violated Law

Today, June 30, Washington state Superior Court Judge Mary Sue Wilson issued a declaratory judgment in favor of the Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation’s claim that Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Lorna Smith was in violation of state law prohibiting commissioners from simultaneously holding another elected or appointive office.

“We’re very pleased with today’s decision that affirms Ms. Smith has been violating state law for more than two years while crafting policy that undermines scientific wildlife management and damages the state’s traditions of hunting and fishing,” said Todd Adkins, vice president of government affairs for the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “It’s reassuring to see that law still matters in Washington state, something the Fish and Wildlife Commission would do well to remember in the future.”

Smith, who was appointed to the commission in January 2021, has long served on the Jefferson County Planning Commission, with her bio on Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website pointing out that she is “currently serving her second and third terms” in this position. Washington law is clear on this question. RCW 77.04.040 states that members of the WFWC “… shall not hold another state, county, or municipal elective or appointive office.”

After her declarative order, Judge Wilson asked the parties to discuss options to resolve the ongoing violation. The Sportsmen’s Alliance is currently reviewing alternatives and will have more to report on the final resolution of this case in the coming days and weeks.

Smith is among a group of new commissioners pushing an extremist view of fish and wildlife management and is adamantly opposed to the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. Smith was a driving force behind the canceling of the spring black bear hunt and has pressed for other initiatives to destabilize traditional management approaches and systems in the state.

The Sportsmen’s Alliance has been watching the actions of the WFWC for more than two years and filed the lawsuit on behalf of its members and sportsmen throughout the state. Joining the lawsuit were two Sportsmen’s Alliance members who are residents of Washington. The case is USSAF v. Smith, No. 23-2-00660-34.

About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, FacebookTwitter and Instagram.