Contact: Mark Lance, Southeastern States Coordinator
On February 10, legislation that would create the Mississippi Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund (Fund) and dedicate sales tax on outdoor gear for conservation purposes passed the Mississippi House of Representatives (House) by a vote of 117-2.
National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses Executive Council Member and Mississippi Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus (Caucus) Co-Chair Representative Scott Bounds is the lead sponsor of House Bill 1231. Caucus Members Representative Trey Lamar, Representative Bill Kincade, Representative Tom Miles, and Representative Shane Barnett are co-sponsors.
“”I’m incredibly excited to see this legislation pass the House with such strong bipartisan support. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to support this bill that would benefit the conservation of Mississippi’s natural resources for generations to come,”” said Representative Bounds.
The Caucus, along with the support of many conservation partners in the state, is steadfast in their support for this legislation that could provide up to $20 million in additional funding for the conservation of Mississippi’s natural resources.
Prior to the vote, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter to the members of the House in support of the legislation.
CSF’s letter stated, “Establishment of the Mississippi Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund would enable Mississippi to increase the scale of conservation work on private and public lands across the state without creating a new sales tax or increasing the current sales tax rate. The legislation does not increase hunting and fishing license fees, and no amendment to the constitution would be required. By allocating a percentage of the existing sales tax on sporting goods to conservation purposes, Mississippians would benefit from projects that improve wildlife habitat; promote hunting, fishing, recreational shooting and other forms of outdoor recreation; enhance access to public lands; restore wetlands and other riparian areas important for clean water; and support fish and wildlife conservation on working forests and farms.”
HB 1231 awaits action in the Senate Committee on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, and CSF will continue working with the Caucus and in-state partners to support efforts to pass the legislation.
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?