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New York Poacher Who Shot State Conservation Officer Sentenced to 6 Months in Jail

New York Poacher Who Shot State Conservation Officer Sentenced to 6 Months in Jail

An upstate New York poacher who admitted to shooting a state Environmental Conservation Officer while illegally hunting after hours was sentenced to 6 months in jail and ordered to pay $20,000 in restitution.

Alan Blanchard Sr., 55, was the poacher who didn’t play by the rules, and it ended up costing him big time. According to NY Up, Judge Joanathan Nichols revoked Blanchard’s hunting privileges and banned him from owning a firearm for the rest of his life.

Blanchard pleaded guilty to second-degree assault after he shot officer James Davey, who was investigating reports of illegal hunting after hours and shots fired. According to the reports, it sounds like Davey was walking through the woods when Blanchard mistook him for a deer and shot him in the pelvic region.

Davey was able to tend to his wound at the scene and is apparently still recovering.



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Exotic Wildlife Association NEWS ALERT

Exotic Wildlife Association
“Promoting Conservation through Commerce”

New Texas Rules for Exotic CWD Susceptible Species

Following the TAHC news release announcing the new exotic CWD susceptible species rules effective today, we would like to describe what constitutes an exotic CWD susceptible species.
As stated in the rules, an Exotic CWD Susceptible Species is a non-native cervid species determined to be susceptible to CWD, which means a species that has had a diagnosis of CWD confirmed by means of an official test conducted by a laboratory approved by USDA/APHIS. This includes North American elk or wapiti (Cervus Canadensis), red deer (Cervus elaphus), Sika deer (Cervus Nippon), moose (Alces alces), and any associated subspecies and hybrids. All mule deer, white-tailed deer, and other native species under the jurisdiction of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are excluded from this definition and application of this section
Exotic Wildlife Association
Charly Seale, Executive Director

105 Henderson Branch Rd., West
Ingram, Texas 78025

Exotic Wildlife Association NEWS ALERT

Exotic Wildlife Association
“Promoting Conservation through Commerce”
New Exotic CWD Susceptible Species Rules Now in Effect
May 30, 2017
Texas Animal Health Commission
Austin, TX – The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) adopted amendments to §40.5 of the Texas Administrative Code to add surveillance, movement reporting, identification, and mortality record keeping requirements for exotic chronic wasting disease (CWD) susceptible species at the regularly scheduled Commission meeting on May 9, 2017, at its headquarters in Austin.

CWD in white-tailed deer and mule deer has been documented in different geographic locations in Texas, which puts other CWD susceptible species at risk for CWD exposure and infection. Statewide surveillance is a critical component to early detection of CWD in exotic susceptible species.

Movement Reporting and Identification Requirements
The adopted movement reporting and identification rule requires owners to keep herd records, estimated annual inventory and mortality records if they move or sell exotic CWD susceptible species located within a high fence premises. The estimated annual inventory and mortality records must be submitted on or before April 1 of every year to the TAHC Central Office.

The rule also requires the owner of live exotic CWD susceptible species being moved or transported within the state to obtain a Premises Identification Number (PIN). To obtain a PIN, contact the TAHC Animal Disease Traceability department at 1-800-550-8242 ext. 733.

Surveillance Requirements
The adopted surveillance rule requires a total of three eligible mortalities to be CWD tested and valid test results submitted to your local TAHC region office on or by April 1 of every year. Eligible mortalities include hunter harvested exotic CWD susceptible species or natural mortalities that occur on the premises. This requirement applies to all high and low fenced premises where exotic CWD susceptible species are located and is not dependent on movement.

Mortality Record Keeping
The adopted mortality record keeping rule states that the owner of a premises where an eligible mortality occurs must maintain a mortality record. The mortality record must be submitted to the TAHC central office on or by April 1 of every year.
Testing Requirements & Test Result Reporting
The rules for testing exotic CWD susceptible species state that all CWD test samples be collected by a state or federal animal health official, accredited veterinarian, or a certified CWD postmortem sample collector; and the samples must be submitted to an official laboratory for all eligible mortalities.  The owner must report all test results to their TAHC region office within 30 days of receiving the results.

Dealer Requirements
Any person engaged in the business of buying or selling exotic CWD susceptible species in commerce must maintain records for all exotic CWD susceptible species transported within the state or where there is a transfer of ownership, and provide these to TAHC personnel upon request. The records must be maintained for not less than five years.

Exotic CWD Susceptible Species Forms
TAHC provides forms to help exotic CWD susceptible species property owners and dealers keep required documentation.
¥ Mortality Record Form:
All forms and resources are posted on our website at
For information concerning native cervid species, visit
Exotic Wildlife Association
Charly Seale, Executive Director

105 Henderson Branch Rd., West
Ingram, Texas 78025
May 30, 2017
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Exotic Wildlife Association
“Promoting Conservation through Commerce”
 Important News for Our Deer Industry (Microchip Bills)!

Deer breeders would like to be able to use microchips as an alternative form of identifying their breeder deer under TPWD permit system.  HB 2855 was filed for this purpose by amending the TPWD code to allow identifying breeder deer with microchips recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with a unique alphanumeric number. The bill required the breeder that uses microchips to make available a microchip reader for the use by TPWD and TAHC personnel.

HB 2588 by Paddie authorizes TPWD to make regulations regarding the use of microchips. If the bill passes it would become in effect on September 1, 2017. The bill passed the House Culture, Recreation, and Tourism committee and awaits to be placed on House Calendar for a vote. Its companion in the senate, SB 1720 by Sen. Estes will be heard on May 8 in the Senate Agriculture, Water, and Rural Affairs Committee.

Exotic Wildlife Association
Charly Seale, Executive Director

105 Henderson Branch Rd., West
Ingram, Texas 78025

Fantastic Sable Bull!

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Exotic Wildlife Association NEWS ALERT

Exotic Wildlife Association
“Promoting Conservation through Commerce”
Texas Legislature Bill Alert
85(R) HB 338
Relating to acreage contracts and quantity contracts for the purchase of agricultural products.
5/3/2017 H Placed on General State Calendar
85(R) HB 748
Relating to certain costs associated with certain court proceedings for cruelly treated animals; authorizing fees and costs.
5/6/2017 H Placed on General State Calendar
85(R) HB 1891
Relating to a documented member of the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas hunting certain deer.
5/4/2017 H Placed on General State Calendar
kickapoo deer hunting
View all actions
Exotic Wildlife Association
Charly Seale, Executive Director

105 Henderson Branch Rd., West
Ingram, Texas 78025

High School Trap Shooting Team Photo Rejected From Yearbook Because of Guns


High School Trap Shooting Team Photo Rejected From Yearbook Because of Guns

The photo shows 60 team members lined up wearing their uniform and resting a shotgun on their shoulder.

The school’s superintendent, Steve Westerberg, apparently told 5 Eyewitness News in an email that the student handbook “doesn’t allow firearms or weapons to be displayed.” He also noted that parents have been urging for several years now for the team to be included in the yearbook.

“This rule has been in affect since the school started sponsoring a Trap Shooting Team a couple years ago,” Westerberg wrote.

Clayton Birsall, one of the team members and also part of the school’s baseball team, thinks that his gun is really no different than his baseball bat.

“That’s what you use in the sport,” Birdsall said. “It’s just natural.”

This whole yearbook thing has created quite the stir for Big Lake, and it will promptly become a topic discussed at the school board meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Gun control is one thing, but what about bullets?

Gun control is one thing, but what about bullets?

Under federal and many state laws, the same people prohibited from buying guns are prohibited from buying bullets. But virtually no systems are in place to enforce that. In 46 states, anyone can walk into a store — or click on a website — and buy bullets, no questions asked.

Earlier this week President Obama announced a series of executive actions on gun control — a frank acknowledgment of the political impossibility of getting even the most modest gun background check bills through Congress. The idea that states could enforce background checks for those buying bullets seems far-fetched.

 Not so in California. “If someone isn’t allowed to possess ammunition, we should probably make sure they can’t buy it,” says Yashar Hedayat, a spokesman for Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, who is spearheading a new effort on ammunition purchases.

That effort, the Safety for All Act, would require a background check for anyone seeking to buy bullets, using the same system as the existing one for guns. The proposed new law includes several other gun control provisions, including new regulations for ammunition dealers. The state — plus 44 others and the federal government — currently has no licensing or regulation for those who sell bullets.

“We’re not being hyperbolic when we say that a daycare center could sell ammunition,” Hedayat says.

The ballot initiative is currently being reviewed by the state’s Attorney General. In the next few months the campaign will begin gathering the requisite signatures to put the initiative before voters in the fall.

Tightening gun restrictions through traditional legislative channels has been a frustrating dead end for gun-control proponents. In the years since the mass school shooting in Newtown, Conn., far more laws have been passed to loosen gun regulations than to strengthen them. But the Safety for All Act bypasses the state legislature by going directly to voters. A similar tack worked in Washington state in 2014, when a ballot initiative to close that state’s gun show loophole passed with almost 60 percent of the vote.

Gun rights supporters essentially conceded that contest, contributing only $500,000 to fight the initiative in the face of at least $6 million in spending by Everytown for Gun Safety and other gun control groups. Proponents of the Safety for All Act say they are gearing up to spend more than that this time around.

The opposition is also planning a sizable, and expensive, fight in California. “Gavin Newsom seriously underestimated the fervor of opposition,” says Mark Selmi, a spokesman for Michel & Associates, the law firm that represents the National Rifle Association in California. “There will be a consolidated opposition, including a large number of county sheriffs and a record voter turnout.” Fundraising has already begun on Second Amendment social media accounts.

What the law says about buying guns online
What the law says about buying guns online

California has some of the nation’s strictest gun control laws, and the state is something of a bellwether for how far gun-control advocates can push before they are beaten back, in the courts or elsewhere. On the issue of regulating ammunition, gun-control proponents point to ordinances in Sacramento and Los Angeles that require ammunition sellers to maintain records of people who buy bullets and to make those records available to police. (Law enforcement has since begun to use the logs in investigations and prosecutions of those prohibited from owning bullets who bought them anyway.)

Gun rights advocates, meanwhile, point to a successful court challenge of a law that would have applied these provisions statewide.

A small group of gun-control advocates have, for years, been making the case that bullets are as good, if not better, a target for regulation than guns. Without bullets, they point out, a gun is a useless piece of metal. And unlike guns, bullets must continually be replaced. “If I buy a firearm, I take good care of it, it can last a lifetime,” says Garen Wintemute, an emergency physician and Director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis. “The larger share of the market is in the consumables, like ammunition.”

But this is a fledgling idea in a landscape where 37 states don’t require background checks to purchase a handgun — let alone a box of ammo. “In most states, we’re actually starting from even further behind,” says Ari Freilich of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a think tank that worked with Newsom to formulate the policy ideas in the Safety for All Act. “Before they can impose ammunition background checks, they also have to talk about firearms background checks as well.”

Four states and the District of Columbia require a license to buy ammunition, and getting that license requires passing a background check. But once you have the license, “you have it until it expires,” Freilich says. “There are processes to revoke the license, but generally speaking, it’s hard to do that.”

The proposed new system in California would require a background check at every purchase, and would draw on the database of prohibited purchasers, updated in real time, that the state already uses for gun sales.

In 2013, New York state passed the SAFE Act, a similar law that would have required ammunition buyers to pass a background check at the point of purchase. But unlike California, which has stricter rules than the federal government’s and maintains its own prohibited gun buyers database, New York relies on the federal background check system, known as NICS. Federal officials said the Brady Act — which established the system of firearm background checks — does not allow NICS to be used for bullets. The SAFE Act is now in limbo until the state police can develop its own statewide database. “New York does face administrative hurdles in putting a new, comprehensive background check database together,” Freilich says — “though I do believe political opposition has hindered the process.”

Feral Pigs ‘Rampage’ in Kirkuk, Killing 3 ISIS Militants


Feral Pigs ‘Rampage’ in Kirkuk, Killing 3 ISIS Militants

Hey Texas, still looking for something to do with all your feral pigs?

Reports from say three ISIS militants were killed late Sunday when a group of feral hogs attacked them in Kirkuk, near a farmland in al-Rashad.

Apparently, the men were trying to clear a large group of pigs from the farmland, when they suddenly went on a “rampage” and attacked the three militants. As you all know, these pigs have a relatively short temper, and they will charge if they feel threatened. That’s likely what happened here, and when the dust settled, all three of the militants were left killed.

To give you an idea of what a charging feral pig looks like, we included the video below, which shows five times a wild hog charged people that made us hold our breathe.

Video: 6 Steps to Properly Clean a Wild Turkey

Video: 6 Steps to Properly Clean a Wild Turkey

You can either skin or pluck a wild turkey, with a few variations in between. As the video below from our friends at Mossy Oak shows, one of the most common and easiest ways is to skin the turkey and then remove the meat in a way that it can easily be cooked to perfection.

Of course, before you get started, you’ll need a good sharp knife and a clean flat surface. It’s also helpful to have gallon-size freezer bags on hand, as well as a garbage bag to discard the carcass when finished.

Below are the six steps that can get that juicy turkey on the table in no time. And yes, you’ll also learn the easiest ways to remove the tail fan, beard and spurs so you can remember your bird for years to come.

Step 1, Remove the Beard: The beard can be pulled away from the breast and carefully cut away. After removing it, you’ll need to remove any excess tissue.

Steps 2, Remove the Spurs: Apply pressure to the turkey knee joint until the joint pops loose. Then, you should be able to easily separate the skin with a sharp knife.

Step 3, Remove the Fan: Hold on to the base of the tail and cut just below the lump of meat that holds the fan feathers together.

Step 4, Skin the Bird: Start by laying down the turkey breast side up. Make a small cut through the skin along the top of the breast bone. Slowly pull the skin away from the breast and legs.

Step 5, Remove the Breast Meat: Locate the breast bone and make a cut down one side of the bone to loosen the breast meat. Pull breast meat away from bone while cutting along the breast bone to remove in one piece. Repeat this process on the other side of the breast bone to remove the other breast.

Step 6, Remove the Leg and Thigh Meat: With the turkey placed on its back, apply pressure down on the thigh until you feel the joint pop loose. Run your knife between thigh and turkey body until the leg quarter releases from the body.



Poll Party
The second part of a Texas Lyceum poll, released Wednesday, reveals some trends in Texas that might seem troubling for Senator Ted Cruz and President Donald Trump. The survey shows Cruz is currently tied with his Democratic opponent Beto O’Rourke. The poll says that O’Rourke, a Democratic congressman from El Paso who announced his 2018 Senate race last month, is currently locked in a dead-heat with Cruz, which is pretty shocking even when you consider that the Lyceum polls always tend to skew left. Each registered 30 percent support, although 37 percent of respondents said they were undecided. Additionally, the majority of respondents surveyed said they do not approve of the job Trump is doing so far in the White House. Trump garnered just a 42 percent approval rating, while 54 percent of respondents disapproved of the president’s performance.

Bear Witness
Alex Jones, the controversial conspiracy theorist and host of Infowars, testified at his child custody trial in Travis County on Wednesday, insisting that his rants and raves are a reflection of his true self rather than acts of performance art, as his attorney had previously claimed. “I believe in the overall political program I am promoting of Americana and freedom,” Jones said on the stand according to the Austin American-Statesman, adding that anyone attempting to raise questions about his on-stage authenticity is “playing a trick on the public.” At stake is the custody of his three kids, ages nine, twelve, and fourteen. The attorney for his ex-wife has so far attempted to undermine Jones’s sanity and credibility as a father figure, using Jones’s erratic on-air and off-air behavior to paint him as unfit to be around his kids. Jones is in a tough spot at the moment—if he continues to say that his public persona is the true Alex Jones, it may ultimately cost him custody of his kids. If he denounces that persona as a fake public face, then he’ll risk losing his following. He’ll take the stand again on Thursday.

Mirror, Mirror
A recently released survey by Travel and Leisure lists Houston and San Antonio as among the prettiest cities in America. No, not architecture. People. According to the list, Houston is ranked number nine because it has a lot of malls and beautiful people love to shop. Also, as Travel and Leisure accurately notes, “Beyoncé is from Houston,” along with Patrick Swayze. San Antonio rounded out the list as the fifteenth most attractive city. Apparently Alamo City residents look pretty good in the lighting along the Riverwalk, but their personality shined brightest, as they earned a perfect score for being friendly. It’s great to see two Texas cities crack a list like this, but, uh, where does that leave Austin and Dallas? Austin certainly isn’t used to being cast as the ugly duckling, and Austinites are justifiably kinda salty about the snub. The Austin American-Statesman seemed particularly perturbed that its city was bested by Houston. “Beyoncé isn’t living there and Swayze, well, you won’t see him either,” the Statesman wrote in a rebuttal to the survey. “Perhaps… people just look better through a petrochemical haze. Or mosquito swarm.” So salty! And as the Dallas Morning News notes, the Big D likely found itself left off the list because it lays claim to the dubious distinction of being Travel and Leisure‘s eighth-rudest city in America. Maybe just take some time to work on yourself, Dallas.

Texas Lawmaker Wants to Legalize Hunting Feral Hogs from Hot Air Balloons

Texas Lawmaker Wants to Legalize Hunting Feral Hogs from Hot Air Balloons

Policymakers in Texas continue to scratch their heads over the state’s feral hog problem, and the solutions are getting weirder.

Researchers and policymakers for years have searched fruitlessly for effective ways to significantly drop feral hog population levels in Texas, with proposals ranging from eating our way out of the problem to widespread poisoning.

Roughly 2 million wild hogs are estimated to live in Texas, and they cause more than $50 million in damage each year. The invasive animals’ high breeding rate and lack of predators have fueled their proliferation in South, Central and East Texas, leading to big business for hunters and trappers.

In 2011, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, then a state rep, passed what became known as the “pork chopper” bill, legalizing the hunting of feral hogs from a helicopter. On its face, the bill sounded more like a joke than an actual solution.

Hunter prepares to shoot feral hogs with a rifle from a helicopter.  YOUTUBE/NICK LEGHORN

Turns out, it’s really hard to shoot anything from a helicopter. In addition to being ineffective, the method is also very dangerous (and not just for the hogs.) The only results produced by the bill were some crazy YouTube videos and an industry in which people pay upwards of $3,000 per hunt to pick off pigs from a chopper.

Enter state Representative Mark Keough, a Republican and pastor from The Woodlands. He told the Observer that he “loved” Miller’s pork chopper bill and found himself asking: “What are more ways we can take more feral hogs?”

After chatting with hunters and conducting his own informal research, Keough believes he’s found an alternative solution: hot air balloons.

His House Bill 3535 would authorize Texans to hunt feral hogs and coyotes from a hot air balloon with a permit.

If the idea seems crazy, that’s because it is. No one hunts from a hot air balloon. Go ahead, Google it. “I haven’t found people anywhere doing this,” Keough admits.

But he thinks it would be pretty damn sweet to try. (It’s currently illegal, or he would’ve tried already, he said.)

The fast-moving helicopter approach, Keough says, has a lot of “safety issues,” leads to many misses and often scares off the hogs. “They’re smart,” he said.

Feral hogs damage land in rural areas, but have increasingly caused problems in suburban and urban areas.  U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

Hot air balloons, on the other hand, are more stable, slower and offer a better rifle-shooting platform, Keough said.

Last July, 16 people were killed in the deadliest hot air balloon crash in U.S. history near Lockhart when the pilot lost control and crashed into power lines. The incident led to calls for stricter regulation of the balloon industry.

Still, Keough says, “It’s far safer than if you were hunting out of a helicopter.”

But more effective? Probably not.

Even Keough admits there’s a good chance hunters could spend all day in a balloon and not shoot anything. And its clumsy, slow-moving nature will keep hunters from effectively chasing the animals.

The animals, which can grow to weigh 100-400 pounds, have a gestation period that’s shorter than four months and litter sizes of up to 12. They are considered a non-game animal, meaning there are no seasons or bag limits, but a state hunting license is required.

Billy Higginbotham, a professor and wildlife and fisheries specialist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, said the balloon strategy faces the same problem as helicopters in the eastern third of the state: trees.

“Aerial gunning by any vehicle [in East Texas] is not widely used because of the extensive tree cover,” Higginbotham said.

State Representative Mark Keough, R-The Woodlands.  FACEBOOK

Keough said the “pork choppper” bill “was more about creating an industry” and that no single strategy will significantly reduce hog populations.

“I think there is a possibility [with hot air balloons] for an industry, but the motivating factor is this is another way to get rid of the problem,” he said

Keough also sponsored legislation that would require more research on the effects of widespread lethal pesticides, including warfarin, before they can be used on hogs. The measure passed the House Monday.

A Texas Parks and Wildlife Department spokesperson declined to comment on pending legislation, citing agency policy. HB 3535 would require the agency to license individuals who want to hunt from the balloons.

Keough, who said he’s “interested in anything that will help us get rid of these things,” believes his bill represents the spirit of Texas.

“We’ve got a problem here, and we are willing to fix it ourself,” he said. “We have that Western, swashbuckling, cowboying type of way to deal with things. It’s part of the culture, it’s different than any other state.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported no license is required to hunt feral hogs in Texas. A state-issued license is required, although there are no seasons or bag limits.

Texas Parks & Wildlife tightens rules on deer breeders

Texas Parks & Wildlife tightens rules on deer breeders


The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopted new rules to combat a disease found in deer, but the new rules could put a strain on many of the state’s 1,300 deer breeding businesses.

The commission’s vote came after months of discussions with interested groups, including breeders, ranch owners who sell hunting leases, environmental groups and livestock organizations.

The purpose for new regulations is to address how the state is going to deal with chronic wasting disease. The neurological condition — which affects deer, elk and maybe moose, but not humans — can cause weight loss, behavioral changes, brain lesions, excessive salivation, pneumonia, difficulty swallowing and head tremors.

It was discovered last year at a breeding facility in Medina County, near San Antonio.

With the commission’s unanimous vote on Monday, deer breeders will have to comply with increased regulation. There will be limited movement of breeder deer across the state, increased postmortem testing for chronic wasting disease and more live testing for the disease, too.

Deer breeding opponent Jenny Sanders, who is executive director of Texans for Saving our Hunting Heritage, called the commission vote a win.

Sanders, who also has served a manager on the 11,300-acre Temple Ranch near Freer in South Texas, said chronic wasting disease as a major threat to white-tailed deer in Texas and to the multibillion-dollar hunting industry. The state had the responsibility to protect the state’s 4 million white-tailed deer, she said.

Not everyone agreed with Sanders and the commissioners.

Particularly frustrated were few dozen members of Texas’ biggest deer breeding group, who walked out of a meeting before the vote even occurred.

Breeders involved with the Texas Deer Association said they believed the members of the commission had come to the meeting with their minds made up.

Marty Berry, a breeder from South Texas, said he felt like the commissioners didn’t care to hear from breeders.

“Nothing else can be accomplished at this level, “ he said.

Hugo Berlanga, a former member of the Texas House from Corpus Christi and owner of a deer breeding business, said the breeding industry in Texas is already on “life support.” The new regulations will come with high costs and will force some breeding operations of out business, he said.

“They have done so much damage to breeders,” he said.

Berlanga said the process was rigged to the benefit of large ranch owners who fear competition from smaller businesses that are often close to metro areas.

“It’s a bunch of elitists. I can’t explain it any simpler than that,” said Berlanga, a board member of the Texas Deer Association.

Sanders, whose group’s members include some representatives from major Texas ranches, has rejected the notion that the breeder fight is about large ranch owners trying to eliminate competition from breeders.

Rather, she said in a recent op-ed published in the San Antonio Express News, that “a small group of deer breeders” has “embarked on an effort to undermine” the efforts of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Josh Havens, a spokesman for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said the commission has heard testimony from a number of individuals who either represent themselves, organizations and landowners.

“(T)his is a public resource issue, and the commission will make their decision based on science and what is in the best interest of the states wildlife and hunting heritage,” Havens wrote in a text message.

Berry, the South Texas breeder, said his and other breeders’ fight won’t end with the commission vote.

An already-filed lawsuit is going to be part of the answer, he said.

“That’s going to be the next step before the Legislature,” he said.