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Mainers For Fair Bear Hunting v. Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

Supreme Court of Maine

April 14, 2016

MAINERS FOR FAIR BEAR HUNTING et al.
v.
DEPARTMENT OF INLAND FISHERIES AND WILDLIFE et al.

Argued: February 10, 2016

On the briefs:

Rachel M. Wertheimer, Esq., Verrill Dana LLP, Portland, for appellants Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting and Katie Hansberry

Janet T. Mills, Attorney General, Emily K. Green, Asst. Atty. Gen., Scott W. Boak, Asst. Atty. Gen., and Mark A. Randlett, Asst. Atty. Gen., Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for appellee Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

Paul McDonald, Esq., and Daniel J. Murphy, Esq., Bernstein Shur, Portland, for amicus curiae Maine Wildlife Conservation Council

At oral argument:

Rachel M. Wertheimer, Esq., for appellants Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting and Katie Hansberry

Emily K. Green, Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellee Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

Paul McDonald, Esq., for amicus curiae Maine Wildlife Conservation Council

Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and HUMPHREY, JJ.

SAUFLEY, C.J.

[¶1] In September 2014, Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting and Katie Hansberry filed a complaint in the Superior Court contending that the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife's campaign activities in opposition to a question scheduled to appear on the 2014 referendum election ballot constituted an ultra vires expenditure of public funds. In November 2014, Maine voters defeated the ballot question. In March 2015, the court (Cumberland County, Wheeler, J.) dismissed the complaint as moot. MFBH appealed. We affirm the judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

[ΒΆ2] Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting is a Maine ballot question committee that was the proponent of November 2014 Ballot Question 1, concerning bear baiting, hunting, and trapping. The Department is a State agency charged with the administration and enforcement of the inland fisheries and wildlife statutes. Maine ...


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