July 24, 2013

House Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus -Sportsmen’s Priorities Moving in Congress

On July 23, the bipartisan leadership of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) introduced H.R. 2799, the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act and the Public Lands Filming Act (H.R. 2798), two important pro-sportsmen’s bills for the 113th Congress. Both of these bills have been identified as sportsmen’s legislative priorities agreed upon by the CSC House leadership for the 113th Congress, which were released at the July 10 breakfast briefing hosted by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and Safari Club International (SCI).

The SHARE Act, which includes CSC bipartisan Co-Chairs Representatives Bob Latta and Bennie Thompson and bipartisan Vice-Chairs Representatives Rob Wittman and Tim Walz as original cosponsors, permanently establishes the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council Advisory Committee to advise the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture on wildlife and habitat conservation, hunting and recreational shooting. The Council advises the federal government – through the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture – about agency activities that benefit recreational hunting and wildlife resources, and activities that encourage partnership among the public, the sporting conservation community, the recreational shooting and hunting sports industry, wildlife conservation organizations, and federal and state governments. The Secretaries shall pay expenses of the Council that they determine to be reasonable and appropriate and no additional funds will be appropriated for the creation of this Advisory Committee.

CSC Co-Chair Representatives Bob Latta emphasized his support for the SHARE Act: “Ensuring that sportsmen and sportswomen have an advisory capacity role across future Administrations is vital for all who enjoy the great outdoors throughout the nation to engage and provide consensus recommendations to federal agencies that will benefit from the Council’s vast experience and expertise. I am confident that this legislation will serve to the betterment of current and future generations of hunter-conservationists.”

“This legislation will ensure that sportsmen are able to provide first-hand knowledge of the wildlife and hunting issues to the federal government. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that this much needed legislation receives proper consideration in the House,” stated CSC Co-Chair Representative Bennie Thompson.

The Public Lands Filming Act, which also includes Co-Chairs Bob Latta and Bennie Thompson and Vice Co-Chair Rob Wittman as original cosponsors, makes a distinction on federal lands between a small film crew that would typically film an outdoor, hunting or fishing program and a major Hollywood production. By assessing an annual fee of $200 for commercial filming activities for any film crew of five persons or fewer on federal lands and waterways administered by the Secretary of Interior and Secretary of Agriculture, federal public lands will be financially accessible for outdoor programming.

The current rules for filming and photographing on federal lands and waterways place a severe burden on individual journalists/small film crews wishing to participate in these activities on federal lands. This legislation will address the inequities, enforcement and process confusion that result from the current regulations.

On July 18, CSC member Senator Lisa Murkowski introduced the Sportsmen’s Act (S. 1335). This legislation also includes many of the legislative priorities agreed upon by the CSC House leadership for the 113th Congress.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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