Major legislation to encourage recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting has been placed on the Senate legislative calendar for a vote. The House passed such a bill last week (see stories linked to below).
The Senate bill, the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2014 (S. 1996) was introduced by Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) along with 11 cosponsors. It first became available online on the congressional website on Tuesday, Feb. 11. You can read about it at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d113:s.01996:.
Hagan cochairs the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus. Read her statement on the bill at http://www.hagan.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=2582.
The bill amalgamates a variety of other bills. Among them, the bill would:
- Expand electronic Duck Stamps to all states.
- Exempt fishing tackle from regulation under the Toxic Substances Control Act.
- Increase the percentage of federal funds states could use to build and expand target practice and marksmanship training ranges.
- Move from the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to the U.S. Department of Agriculture extension offices the authority to determine what constitutes illegal baiting of migratory birds for hunting purposes on farm land. In some cases FWS has considered rolled rice fields baited, when farmers consider it normal agricultural practice.
- Require managers of Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management areas to consider hunting, fishing and recreational shooting in their plans.