Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
CONNORS-RUMPF‑GOVE AHOOKED ON FISHINGBNOT ON DRUGS@ initiative clears final legislative hurdle
Trenton: The State Senate today passed legislation (S-178/A-638) sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove that would establish a AHooked on Fishing‑Not on Drugs@ (HOFNOD) program within the Division of Fish and Wildlife to encourage children to avoid drug use. The 9th District Legislators’ initiative has passed both Houses of the Legislature and, subsequently, will be sent to the Governor’s desk.
AHooked on Fishing ‑ Not on Drugs@ (HOFNOD) is a nationally recognized program developed by the Future Fisherman Foundation. The Connors-Rumpf-Gove measure would establish the HOFNOD program on a statewide basis by enabling the Division of Fish and Wildlife to implement and model the program after the pilot HOFNOD program implemented in Ocean County in 2000. To the maximum extent possible, the Division would implement and operate the program in every county in the State.
The 9th District Legislators’ legislation would establish the Program=s funding source as the Drug Enforcement and Demand Reduction Fund (DEDRF) from which there would be a $200,000 appropriation to support the cost of implementing the program. This is a statutory account established to receive fines and penalties from convicted drug offenders that are used to support State authorized drug and alcohol abuse abatement programs.
The 9th District Delegation offered the following remarks following the passage of their legislation:
“Final passage of the “Hooked on Fishing – Not on Drugs” legislation brings our state one step closer to implementing an effective program to curtail drug use among children. The primary goal sought under this legislation is, in our opinion, consistent with the Administration’s ongoing efforts to reduce the number of persons in the state incarcerated for drug use, which represents a tremendous expense to taxpayers, at a time in which there are limited resources. From a practical standpoint, our legislation would appropriately utilize monies collected as fines from convicted drug offenders - not taxpayer dollars - to strongly discourage illegal drug use by the next generation.
“To be effective, the legislation is crafted to have staff from the Division of Fish and Wildlife develop strategies for assisting school districts or other interested public service organizations in implementing this program throughout the State. As more than 30 states have instituted a “Hooked on Fishing – Not on Drugs” program, there exists a comprehensive frame work for New Jersey build upon in teaching the core values of the program that consist of promoting civic values and respect for the environment through an instructional setting that includes recreational outdoor activities.
“In order to monitor the effectiveness of the program, our legislation requires that the Division of Fish and Wildlife provide an annual report to the Legislature. The report would include information on the number of school districts or municipalities that have implemented the program and the number of pupils that are participating in the program. Information would also be compiled on the effectiveness of the program in terms of drug usage avoidance or incidents among participating students.”
Organizations that have testified in favor of the 9th District Delegation’s Hooked on Fishing – Not on Drugs initiative include the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA), the New Jersey Recreation and Parks Association, the Jersey Coast Anglers Association, the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and the United Bowhunters of New Jersey.