On March 26, the House Natural Resources Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee held a hearing on two important bills for sportsmen’s access and financial resources - the Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow’s Needs Act (H.R. 877) and the ACCESS Act (H.R. 1326).
Prior to the hearing, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter in support of these bills, which highlighted the importance of both bills and urged the House Natural Resources Committee to favorably advance these bills.
H.R. 877, Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow’s Needs Act, was introduced by the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC), Representatives Austin Scott (GA), Marc Veasey (TX), Richard Hudson (NC), and Debbie Dingell (MI). This legislation clarifies that one of the purposes of the Pittman-Robertson Fund (P-R) is to provide and extend financial and technical assistance to the states for hunter and recreational shooter recruitment efforts.
The Pittman-Robertson Act currently directs existing excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment to state wildlife agencies to be used for various on-the-ground conservation efforts, educational programs, and increasing public access.
Over the last decade, though, our nation has experienced a decline in hunters, which threatens the future of state-based wildlife conservation that is derived from P-R funds. H.R. 877 increases flexibility for state agencies to recruit, retain, or reactivate new, existing, or lapsed hunters and recreational shooters – and therefore help ensure the future of this critical conservation funding mechanism.
H.R. 1326, the ACCESS Act (Authorizing Critical Conservation and Enabling Sportsmen and Sportswomen), was introduced by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Representative Mike Thompson (CA). This bill contains a number of longstanding priorities for CSF, including:
- North American Wetlands Conservation Act Reauthorization
- National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships Act
- Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act
- Establishing a fee and permit process for commercial film crews
- Chronic Wasting Disease Management Act
- Chronic Wasting Disease Transmission in Cervidae Study Act
H.R. 877 and H.R. 1326 now await further action in the House.
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- Improve hunter and target shooter involvement in regulatory and legislative processes. (11.67%)
- Enact or expand temporary hunter education deferral programs (apprentice license programs, multiyear options, programs for all first-time hunters regardless of age, and programs promoting hunting of multiple game species). (12.06%)
- Offer shooting sports and hunter education as school activities and recreation programs. (63.04%)
- Link existing programming into family-oriented organizations (such as churches and home-school groups) where participants will have the social support to continue. (13.23%)