Why It Matters: Bills piling up on legislative calendars across the country means that hunters, anglers, recreational shooters, and trappers could see changes to their favorite pastimes. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation is committed to protecting our time-honored outdoor traditions through active engagement in the legislative process.
- With legislative sessions across the country in full swing, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) is hard at work engaging with lawmakers in the Upper Midwest to promote policies that protect and advance hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and trapping.
- Indiana, Minnesota, and North Dakota have seen the most legislative activity in the Upper Midwest region thus far.
- Through its NASC network, CSF will continue to work with caucus leaders throughout all states in the region to engage on key issues relevant to sportsmen and women.
With more than a month of 2023 behind us, state capitols are bustling with activity and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation is keeping busy in the Upper Midwest by working to advance legislation that protects our outdoor heritage and thwarting legislation that harms it. Below are a few bills we’re actively engaging on in the region:
Indiana House Bill 1008 – CSF submitted testimony in support of Indiana House Bill 1008, which would prohibit the state from investing in and doing business with funds and organizations that discriminate against the firearm industry. CSF supports legislation that prohibits discrimination against the firearm industry in recognition of the industry’s immense importance to not only sportsmen and women through the production of the firearms and ammunition needed to enjoy our time-honored traditions, but also in recognition of the industry’s significant contributions to the American System of Conservation Funding (ASCF).
Indiana House Bill 1150 – CSF also submitted testimony on Indiana House Bill 1150, which would create a four-day hunting season for critically disabled veterans without those hunters needing to possess a license. CSF supports creating outdoor opportunities that honor this incredibly deserving demographic of sportsmen and women. However, because the number of licenses sold in a state is crucial to the calculation that determines that state’s Pittman-Robertson funding, CSF recommended amendments to the bill to require that these hunters still be in possession of a hunting license – which could still be given free of charge – and recommended that the revenue which would have been realized from the sale of any free or discounted licenses be reimbursed to the Indiana DNR from the state’s General Fund.
Minnesota House File 944 – CSF is currently working with industry partners to oppose HF 944, which would ban anglers from using lead tackle. There is no documented evidence that anglers’ use of lead tackle has deleterious impacts on fish and wildlife at the population level in the United States. However, banning lead fishing tackle would be detrimental to Minnesota’s economy as a whole, funding for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources through the ASCF, and the traditions enjoyed by the state’s strong community of sportsmen and women.
North Dakota House Bill 1538 – CSF submitted testimony in support of North Dakota House Bill 1538, which would make changes to the laws surrounding fishing contests to create conditions better suited for the state to host large tournaments. As written, this legislation also encourages more participation among youth anglers, all while protecting the Game and Fish Department’s ability to properly manage fish populations.
As the legislative sessions churn ahead, CSF will continue to actively monitor and engage on legislation in state capitals throughout the Upper Midwest to protect our time-honored traditions afield and in the water.