I went ahead and sent in the petition "PETITION FOR ADOPTION, AMENDMENT, OR REPEAL OF A STATE ADMINISTRATIVE RULE" with the cover letter below.
Even though the Commission is reconsidering rule change #65, it needs to be on record that they did not follow procedure.
March 14, 2013
Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife
ATTN: Loreva Preuss
P.O. Box 43144
Olympia, WA 98504-3144
Dear Loreva Preuss,
I have attached a completed Petition for Amendment of a State Administrative Rule. The rule in question is rule change #65 - "Cabezon minimum size requirement". The attached petition asks that the Commission amend the adopted rule, removing the catch limit and season restriction that were added after the public comment/testimony period was over.
The CR-102 WAC language and the WDFW web site page requesting public comment mention only a size restriction of 18" on Cabezon (attached relevant pages). This is what was presented for the public comment period and the February 8, 2013 public testimony in Olympia, which I attended. For unknown reasons, the rule language was amended considerably to include a catch limit reduction a season restriction, after public comment and public testimony were completed. These additional restrictions appeared in the Concise Explanatory Statement, dated February 22, 2013 (attached relevant pages). The CES shows that options 2-4 were not included in the CR-102 language. The March 5, 2013 WDFW press release (attached) shows that the commissioners chose to adopt three of the four restrictions, again, only one of which was presented to the public (the 18" size restriction).
This is a violation of the The Administrative Procedure Act. RCW 34.05.340 specifically addresses this, "Variance between proposed and final rule" (attached).
Additionally, I believe a WDFW and possibly even the State of Washington should examine exactly why procedure was not followed in this instance. While sportfishing restrictions are obviously warranted in certain circumstances, proper procedure must be followed. The Commission should be held accountable for acting outside of established policy.
Awaiting your reply,
WDFW Public Comment for Rule Change #65 - http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/comments/proposal.php?id=143
CR-102 WAC - http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/regulations/2013/wsr_13-02-094.pdf
CES - http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/comments/2012-2013CESSummaryofPublicCommentStaffRecommendation_02222013.pdf
March 5 WDFW Press Release - http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/mar0513a/