NM House Bill 235 to the Rescue of Private Property Fishing Rights
2-15-2015 In 2014, former New Mexico Attorney General Gary King released an opinion stating that he believed recreational fishing across private land in NM streams where public access was provided to the stream bed was legal. The key was an angler had to stay within the banks of the river itself and access to lands out of the streambed was not legal where property was legally posted under NM statute and the fisherman knowingly entered without permission.
In 2015, in the 52nd State of NM Legislature, a bill was introduced to curtail this activity. The bill is known as HB235 and a companion bill was introduced on the senate side known as SB266. There are constitutional issues that are being sorted out regarding this legislation as we write. However, the intent of the new legislation is to make this type of activity illegal where landowners want to protect their rights against trespassing.
The ability for recreational fisherman to fish streams crossing private property is no doubt a game changer in several arenas. One landowner stood up in committee and indicated his banker was none too happy and if his ability to pay the loan tanked because his fishing operation failed, the note would be called. No telling if there would be an affect on land values and if this situation does not get resolved, title companies may see claims popping up all over the place.
We will let you know if the legislation gets the nod from the Governor.
This bill squeaked through the house judiciary with a 7-6 do pass vote yesterday. It will go on the house floor for vote in the next few days. The problem will be in the Senate where the “d’s” still have the majority rule.
If this bill fails in the Senate and does not make it to the Governor, the next step is for a lawsuit against a trespasser to set case precedent. This process is also political in that it must be heard in a court that values private rights of ownership.
I still expect to see something happen from a title company claim standpoint. These guys are claiming ownership of the streambed which is included in deeds and insured by title co’s.
The battle roars on….