Federal Affairs

"SCI is a tremendous advocate for sportsmen, wildlife conservation and hunters' rights. Their work is essential to preserving our outdoor heritage."
-U.S. Congressman
John D. Dingell, D-MI

"SCI is probably the most influential conservation group now in Washington, D.C."
-U.S. Congressman
Don Young, R-AK

SCI is the only pro-hunting organization with an office in Washington, D.C., that has full time policy experts, in-house legal counsel, and certified wildlife biologists on staff dedicated to the protection of hunting for SCI members and hunters everywhere.

SCI monitors, evaluates, and lobbies on federal legislation impacting hunting, hunters, and wildlife conservation. SCI evaluates hunting opportunities, access, recruitment, and retention. One of the ways to protect hunting freedoms is to keep on top of the legislation in Congress. Building relationships between Congressional leaders and sportsmen as well as staying current on the issues ensures that hunting interests are at the fore when important bills come up.

Board Reports

Feb 2014

Safari Club International's (SCI) Washington, DC office continuously works to ensure that SCI's membership is represented at the highest levels of Federal, State, and International governing bodies. Through the lobbying, litigation, and political outreach, no other organization leads the hunting community the way Safari Club International does.

113th CONGRESS

As the first legislation drew to a close, SCI claims two outstanding victories that will position us moving forward for the second session on Capitol Hill to protect the rights of sportsmen everywhere.

H.R. 3197 Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act of 2013 introduced in the House

H.R. 3590, the Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act of 2013 wasintroducedon September 26th, 2013 bySCI's Federal Legislator of the Year, Congressman Robert Latta (OH), along with Congressman Bennie Thompson (MS), Congressman Robert Wittman (VA), and Congressman Tim Walz (MN).The Sportsmen's Act includes legislation that has been successfully advanced by Congressman Dan Benishek (MI), Congressman Duncan Hunter (CA), Congressman Don Young (AK), Congressman Bob Gibbs (OH) and Congressman Jeff Miller (FL).

SCI is proud that Members of Congress continue to support our hunting heritage through the introduction of this bill. Many of the key pieces of House legislation we have been working hard to pass are included in this package. We look forward to the quick passage of the SHARE Act and we hope that the Senate can also act in a bi-partisan fashion to protect hunting and fishing for future generations.

Key components of the SHARE Act include:

1. The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act (H.R. 322 – Rep. Miller)

Reaffirms and clarifies language within TSCA to protect traditional hunting, fishing, and shields target shooting equipment from litigation.

2. Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act (H.R. 2463/S. 1212 – Rep. Duncan Hunter)

Allows states more funds available for a longer period of time for the creation and maintenance of shooting ranges. This legislation also encourages federal land agencies to cooperate with state and local authorities to maintain shooting ranges.

3. Public Lands Filming (H.R. 2798 – Rep. Latta)

Directs the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture, for any film crew of five persons or fewer, to require a permit and assess an annual fee of $200 for commercial filming activities or similar projects on federal lands and waterways administered by the Secretary.

4. Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act (H.R. 1818/S. 847 – Rep. Don Young)

Allows for renewed funding for the U.S. – Russian Polar Bear Conservation Fund and requires the U.S. FWS to issue importation permits for harvested polar bears.

5. Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act (H.R. 1206/S. 738 -Rep. Wittman)

Grants the Secretary of the Interior permanent authority to authorize any state to issue electronic duck stamps. It also outlines electronic duck stamp application requirements.

6. Recreational Lands Self Defense Act (H.R. 2046 – Rep. Gibbs)

Prohibits the Secretary of the Army from promulgating or enforcing any regulation that prohibits an individual from possessing a firearm at a water resources development project administered by the Corps of Engineers if: (1) the individual is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing the firearm, and (2) the possession of the firearm is in compliance with the law of the state in which the project is located.

7. Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council Advisory Committee (H.R. 2799 – Rep. Latta)

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, recreational hunting and shooting.

8. Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act (H.R. 1825/S. 170 – Rep. Benishek)

Requires the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service to keep their lands open to hunting, recreational fishing, and shooting and facilitate the use of and access to Federal public lands and waters for these activities, pursuant to reasonable exceptions. Access to areas to participate in these activities is one of the top reasons cited as to why sportsmen stop participating in their sports.

S. 1335 Sportsmen's Act of 2013 For The 113th Congress

In late July, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced S. 1335, the Sportsmen's Act of 2013, the first comprehensive bill to benefit America's sportsmen and women in the 113th Congress. We are so pleased to have legislators such as Senator Murkowski at the ready to introduce such reforms to get the debate started on a piece of legislation that is vital to the Sportsmen's community. SCI stands with Senator Murkowski and is now underway securing co-sponsors to S. 1335. During the August recess SCI commanded a strong grassroots effort to bring the comprehensive legislation to the attention of certain Senators while they are home in their districts.

The package combines several individual bills that SCI is a strong advocate for that protect the interests of sportsmen and women nationwide. Some of the components of the base Sportsmen's Act include bills mentioned above such as:

S. 170 Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act

S. 847 Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act of 2013

S. 1212 Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act

H.R.322: Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act's language

Passage of both the House and Senate Sportsmen's Packages is vital to protecting the rights of sportsmen and women nationwide. First and foremost, these bills will help secure hunting rights on our public lands for future generations. SCI will work in 2014 to encourage the Senate and House to take action as soon as possible along with continuing to work to secure further co-sponsors of each piece of legislation.

Aug. 2013

113th CONGRESS

Current Legislation

H.R. 1825 Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act

Recognizes the rightful place of recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting on federal lands and protect those opportunities from being closed to the public without justification.

Congressman Dan Benishek's (R-Michigan) bill has been one of SCI's top priorities from the start of the 113th Congress. We have made great progress on the bill, lobbying hard and securing an impressive 107 co-sponsors. To put it another way, almost one quarter of the House of Representatives currently sits as a co-sponsor of H.R. 1825. The bill has passed the House Natural Resources Committee with bi-partisan support and we're confident that there will be action soon on the bill to pass the full House.

H.R.322: Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act

Amends the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to exclude from the definition of "chemical substance" for purposes of such Act: (1)any component ofany pistol, revolver, firearm, shell, or cartridge the sale of which is subject to federal excise tax, including shot, bullets and other projectiles, propellants, and primers; and (2)any sport fishing equipment the sale of which is subject to federal excise tax and sport fishing equipmentcomponents.

This legislation currently sits in the House Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy. However similar text appears in the Senate Sportsmen's Act of 2013.

H.R. 2798

To amend Public Law 106-206 to direct the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to require annual permits and assess annual fees for commercial filming activities on Federal land for film crews of 5 persons or fewer. Similar text to this just introduced piece of legislation appears in the Senate Sportsmen's Act of 2013

H.R. 2799

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, recreational shooting, and for other purposes. This piece of legislation was introduced just before August recess. SCI will continue to monitor the bill.

H.R. 1818/S847 Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act of 2013

Allows for the Secretary to authorize permits for importation of legally harvested Polar Bears taken from populations approved for hunting in Canada before the 2008 import ban was enacted by the U.S. These harvested bears are currently being held in cold storage in Canada because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has determined that the law prevents it from issuing these once-routine import permits, even though conservation funds of nearly $45,000 will be lost by preventing these imports.

SCI submitted testimony in support of H.R. 1818 and we are pleased that the House Natural Resources Committee passed the legislation. SCI will continue to lobby on the legislation anticipating a floor vote at some point on the bill. Further, the text of this bill also appears as a section of the Senate Sportsmen's Act of 2013.

H.R. 2463/S. 1212 Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act

The bill amends the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act to facilitate the establishment of additional or expanded public target ranges in certain states.

The House Natural Resources Committee passed the legislation. SCI will continue to lobby on the legislation anticipating a floor vote at some point on the bill. Further, the text of this bill also appears as a section of the Senate Sportsmen's Act of 2013.

H.R. 2919 Open Book on Equal Accessto Justice Act

Requires every federal agency to begin tracking EAJA payments again, and tasks the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) with compiling that data. ACUS is also required to submit an annual report to Congress, and to establish an online searchable database that will allow the public access to how much has been paid from EAJA, from which agencies, and to whom taxpayer dollars are being paid.

This landmark piece of legislation was introduced just before August recess. SCI will continue to monitor and support the bill. The bill has far reaching capabilities for exposing certain anti-hunting groups for what they are truly good at…settling lawsuits with the federal government for huge paydays.

H.R. 2935/S. 1005 Conservation Reform Act of 2013

The Conservation Reform Act aims to coordinate global conservation and anti-poaching programs under a unified strategy across the federal agencies. The legislation is supported SCI along with numerous other organizations, including the Nature Conservancy and the International Conservation Caucus Foundation.

This bill has now been introduced in both the House and the Senate. SCI will continue to monitor and support it on Capitol Hill as it moves to Subcommittee

S. 1335 Sportsmen's Act of 2013 Introduced For The 113thCongress

In late July, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced S. 1335, the Sportsmen's Act of 2013, the first comprehensive bill to benefit America's sportsmen and women in the 113thCongress. We are so pleased to have legislators such as Senator Murkowski at the ready to introduce such reforms to get the debate started on a piece of legislation that is vital to the Sportsmen's community. SCI stands with Senator Murkowski and is now underway securing co-sponsors to S. 1335. During the August recess SCI has commanded a strong grassroots effort to bring the comprehensive legislation to the attention of certain Senators while they are home in their districts. We are looking forward to hitting the ground running with a deluge of cosponsors upon their return to Washington on September 9th.

The package combines several individual bills that SCI is a strong advocate for that protect the interests of sportsmen and women nationwide. Some of the components of the base Sportsmen's Act include bills mentioned above such as:

S. 170 Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act

S. 847 Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act of 2013

S. 1212 Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act

H.R.322: Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act's language

Passage of the Sportsmen's Package is vital to protecting the rights of sportsmen and women nationwide. First and foremost, this bill will help secure hunting rights on our public lands for future generations. SCI will encourage the Senate to take action as soon as possible along with continuing to work to secure further co-sponsors of the bill.

May 2013

113th CONGRESS COMMENCES

Legislative Victory

SCI was the leader in spearheading a group of 31 hunting organizations to write a letter to Senate leaders expressing concern about proposed restrictions on firearm ownership. In fact SCI was responsible for delivering that letter of opposition to Sen. Reid and to Sen. McConnell's offices. This letter united the sportsmen's community against new firearms restrictions while laying out a plan to prevent future attacks by addressing our broken mental health system. By keeping the community of hunters united the Administration was unable to isolate the NRA as was there goal. The gun control bills all failed in the Senate and the interests of hunters were protected from dangerous legislation including a ban on the sale of some of the most popular hunting rifles. Unfortunately, the President has declared that this is just the beginning of the fight so it will be vital that hunters and gun owners stay vigilant.

Ongoing Legislation

In 2012 SCI and our partners came within a hair's breadth of getting the Sportsmen's Act passed into law. Unfortunately, the Senate failed to finalize their version after the House of Representative passed a very robust version of the Act. SCI has already introduced model legislation for the framework of this bill in the 113th Congress. Further, as of publication, SCI has worked with congressional offices to introduce 24 pro-hunting bills for this Congress. The bills include:

H.R.576: Save Endangered Species Act of 2013

  • Requires the Secretary of the Interior to reissue the final rule published on September 2, 2005, which allows for the taking, export or re-import, delivery, receipt, carrying, and transport, shipment, or sale in interstate or foreign commerce, in the course of a commercial activity, of U.S. captive-bred live scimitar-horned oryx, addax, or dama gazelle, including embryos, gametes, and sport-hunted trophies, as long as certain criteria are met, including that the purpose of such activity is associated with the management or transfer of live wildlife or sport hunting in a manner that contributes to increasing or sustaining captive numbers or to potential reintroduction to range countries.

S.170: Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act

  • Requires a federal public land management official, in cooperation with the respective state and fish and wildlife agency, to exercise the authority of the official under law, including regarding land use planning, to facilitate the use of, and access to, federal public land for hunting, recreational fishing, and recreational shooting, except as described in this Act.
  • Requires the heads of federal public land management agencies to exercise their discretion in a manner that supports and facilitates hunting, recreational fishing, and recreational shooting opportunities, to the extent authorized under applicable law.
  • Requires that Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service land, excluding land on the Outer Continental Shelf, be open to hunting, recreational fishing, or recreational shooting unless the managing agency acts to close lands to such activity. Permits closures or restrictions on such land for purposes including resource conservation, public safety, energy or mineral production, energy generation or transmission infrastructure, water supply facilities, national security, or compliance with other law.
  • Allows agencies to: (1) lease or permit use of federal public land for recreational shooting ranges, and (2) designate specific land for recreational shooting activities. Excepts from such use or designation land including a component of the National Wilderness Preservation System, land designated as a wilderness study area or administratively classified as wilderness eligible or suitable, and primitive or semiprimitive areas.
  • Requires annual reports on closures of federal public lands to hunting, recreational fishing, or recreational shooting. Sets forth requirements for specified closures or significant restrictions involving 1280 or more contiguous acres of federal public land or water to hunting or recreational fishing or related activities.
  • Instructs federal public land agencies to consult with the advisory councils specified in Executive Orders 12962 (relating to recreational fisheries) and 13443 (relating to the facilitation of hunting heritage and wildlife conservation) in carrying out this Act.

S.19: A bill to amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to establish a procedure for approval of certain settlements.

  • Amends the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to require the Secretary of the Interior, within 30 days after being served with a complaint in an action alleging a failure to perform an act or duty related to an endangered species or threatened species determination, to publish the complaint. Prohibits the failure of the Secretary to meet such deadline from being the basis for such an action. Sets forth requirements concerning the intervention in such actions by affected parties and referral to a mediation program.
  • Authorizes the court, in issuing any final order in such an action, to award litigation costs to any party. Prohibits the court from: (1) awarding litigation costs in any proposed covered settlement, (2) granting a motion that is based on a proposed covered settlement or other consent decree that includes payment for litigation costs, (3) approving a proposed covered settlement unless each state and county in which the Secretary believes a species occurs approves it, or (4) granting a motion that is based on a proposed covered settlement unless such settlement is approved by each such state and county. Requires the courts to ensure that such a settlement is approved by each such state and county.

H.R.322: Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act

  • Amends the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to exclude from the definition of "chemical substance" for purposes of such Act: (1)any component of any pistol, revolver, firearm, shell, or cartridge the sale of which is subject to federal excise tax, including shot, bullets and other projectiles, propellants, and primers; and (2)any sport fishing equipment the sale of which is subject to federal excise tax and sport fishing equipmentcomponents.

H.R.47: Farmland Preservation and Land Conservation Act of 2013

  • Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow an estate and gift tax exclusion for real property located in the United States which at the time of a decedent's death was being used as a farm for farming purposes or exclusively for conservation purposes. Imposes: (1) an additional estate or gift tax with respect to such property if an heir or donee disposes of or uses such property for other than farming or conservation purposes, and (2) a federal tax lien on such property until liability for estate or gift tax with respect to such property has been satisfied or has become unenforceable.

H.R.250:

  • Amends the Antiquities Act of 1906 to place additional requirements on the establishment of national monuments under that Act, and for other purposes.

H.R.432:

  • Prohibits the further extension or establishment of national monuments in Nevada except by express authorization of Congress.

H.R.542: To limit restrictions on deer hunting within the Kisatchie National Forest.

  • Prohibits the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) from restricting the use of dogs in deer hunting activities within the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana unless those restrictions are applicable to the smallest practicable parts and are necessary for the reduction or control of trespassing onto adjacent land.

H.R.596: Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act of 2013

  • Amends the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to require amounts received through FY2020 (currently, through FY2010) from leases under the Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 to be available to the Secretary of the Interior to spend in such amounts as are provided in advance appropriations acts for implementing such Acts.
  • Requires the Secretary of Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) to each establish a wind and solar leasing pilot program under which lease sales are conducted on covered public lands administered by the Secretary concerned to carry out wind and solar energy projects. Requires the Secretaries to jointly determine as to whether to expand the pilot program to apply to all covered public lands. Defines "covered land" to mean land that is: (1) public land administered by the Secretary of the Interior, or National Forest System land administered by the Secretary of Agriculture; and (2) not excluded from development of solar or wind energy under a final land use plan established under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, a final land and resource management plan established under the National Forest Management Act of 1976, or federal law.
  • Establishes in the Treasury the Renewable Energy Resource Conservation Fund to be administered by the Secretary of the Interior for use in regions impacted by the development of wind or solar energy on public lands. Requires Fund amounts to be used in those regions for: (1) the protection and restoration of important fish and wildlife habitat; and (2) the assurance and improvement of access to federal lands and waters for hunting, fishing, and other forms of outdoor recreation.
  • Requires the Secretaries to determine the feasibility of carrying out a mitigation banking program on federal lands administered by the Secretaries to fully offset the impacts of wind or solar energy on such lands.

H.R.818: Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act

  • Declares that the bark beetle epidemic, drought, and deteriorating forest health conditions on National Forest System land and public lands, with the resulting imminent risk of devastating wildfires, is an imminent threat within the meaning of roadless area management regulations applicable to a state.
  • Allows a state governor or the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA), with respect the National Forest System, or of the Interior, with respect to public lands, to designate high-risk areas of the national forests and public lands in the state for purposes of addressing: (1) deteriorating forest health conditions due to the bark beetle epidemic or drought, with the resulting imminent risk of devastating wildfires; and (2) the future risk of insect infestations or disease outbreaks through preventative treatments to improve forest health conditions. Excludes wilderness areas and national monuments from designation as high-risk areas. Establishes a 20-year period for such high-risk area designation.
  • Allows a governor or the Secretary, upon designation of a high-risk area, to provide for the development of proposed emergency hazardous fuels reduction projects for the area. Applies the administrative and judicial review processes of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003, with modifications, to such projects.
  • Authorizes the Secretary concerned to enter into cooperative agreements and contracts with state foresters to provide forest, rangeland, and watershed restoration and protection services that include: (1) activities to treat insect infected trees; (2) activities to reduce hazardous fuels; and (3) any other activities to restore or improve forest, rangeland, and watershed health, including fish and wildlife habitat.
  • Permits state foresters to enter into subcontracts to provide such restoration and protection services.
  • Amends the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999 to extend the authority to enter, and the duration of, contracts to perform services to achieve land management goals for national forests that meet local and rural community needs.

H.R.1206: Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act of 2013

  • Grants the Secretary of the Interior permanent authority to authorize any state to issue electronic duck stamps.
  • Sets forth state electronic duck stamp application requirements.

S.10: Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013

  • Farm Bill re-authorization.

S.89: Migratory Bird Treaty Amendment Act of 2013

  • Amends the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to allow an agricultural producer, or a hunter with the producer's permission, to take migratory game birds by the aid of baiting, if: (1) the manipulation occurs on the producer's land on which a crop was not harvestable during the current or immediately preceding crop year due to a natural disaster, and (2) a local representative of the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) confirms that the crop has been destroyed and that it would not be economically practicable to harvest the crop.

S.231: Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Stamp Reauthorization Act of 2013

  • Amends the Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Stamp Act of 2010 to require such stamp to be made available to the public for an additional four years.

S.279: Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2013

  • Amends the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to require amounts received through FY2020 (currently, through FY2010) from leases under the Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 to be available to the Secretary of the Interior for implementing the Energy Policy Act of 2005, as well as the Geothermal Steam Act of 1970.
  • Requires the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) to: (1) prepare and publish a notice of intent to prepare a programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) to analyze the potential impacts of a program to develop solar and wind energy on National Forest System land and any necessary amendments to land use plans for such land, and (2) amend such plans to provide for the development of renewable energy on completion of the programmatic EIS.
  • Requires the Secretary of Defense (DOD), for states that have not completed such an analysis, to submit a report that: (1) identifies locations on land withdrawn from the public domain and reserved for military purposes that could be developed for renewable energy production, and (2) describes the administration of public land withdrawn for military purposes for the development of commercial-scale renewable energy projects.
  • Requires the Secretary of the Interior to establish a wind and solar leasing pilot program on public land administered by the Secretary. Requires the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to: (1) make a joint determination on whether to establish such program within two years on all covered land, (2) establish such program unless they determine that the program is not in the public interest and does not provide an effective means of developing such energy, and (3) require as a condition for any authorization for the development of such energy on such land the payment of a royalty.
  • Defines "covered land" as: (1) public land administered by the Secretary or National Forest System land administered by the Secretary of Agriculture; and (2) land not excluded from the development of solar or wind energy under a land use plan established under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, the National Forest Management Act of 1976, or other law.
  • Establishes in the Treasury the Renewable Energy Resource Conservation Fund to be administered by the Secretary of the Interior in regions impacted by the development of wind or solar energy for addressing and offsetting the impacts of such development on federal land, securing recreational access to federal land to provide enhanced public access to existing federal land that is inaccessible or significantly restricted, and carrying out activities authorized under the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965.
  • Requires the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior to determine the feasibility of carrying out a conservation banking program.
  • Prohibits wind or solar generation projects with a capacity of 20 megawatts or more that are issued a lease, right-of-way, permit, or other authorization from being subject to the rental fee exemption for rights-of-way under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.

S.368: Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act Reauthorization of 2013

  • Amends the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA) to reauthorize, until July 25, 2021, the program for the completion of appraisals and satisfaction of other legal requirements for the sale or exchange of public land identified for disposal under approved land use plans under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976.
  • Makes the FLTFA inapplicable to land eligible for sale under specified public land laws.

SCI and our allies are anxious to undertake the challenges that will be presented during the 113th Session of Congress.

New Manager of Government Affairs and Public Relations

SCI's Government Affairs team has hired a new Manager of Government Affairs and Public Relations. Andrew Bird was brought on in April to assist with SCI's mission on Capitol Hill. Andrew has over 6 years of experience in Washington, DC, most recently with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. An avid hunter, Andrew is a welcome addition to the team.

Jan. 2013

WRAPPING UP THE 112th CONGRESS

  • The 112th session of the U.S. Congress has played its final song however there are still too many unfinished policy issues at stake for American and international sportsmen and women. Many hunters will recognize the often utilized term ˵Sportsmen's Act of 2012.˶ News outlets, talking heads, and opponents of hunting co-opted the sportsmen's message to serve a political agenda that unfortunately sidelined the needed policy changes that real hunters were asking of their elected officials.
  • SCI members know that the efforts of SCI's Washington DC office were central to the passage of bi-partisan legislation out of U.S. House of Representatives that would have effectively protected hunting, fishing, trapping, and sport shooting on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service lands for generations to come. The U.S. Senate, under the guidance of Sen. Jon Tester (MT) attempted to pass his own version of a Sportsmen's package of bills. The package of Sen. Tester reflected the self-centered politics of current Senate leadership, wherein the bill contained only a fraction of the House passed bill, authorized spending levels for conservation programs that would cost upwards of a billion dollars, and had almost no support from his republican colleagues.
  • SCI was one of the few hunting organizations that did not blindly endorse Sen. Tester's legislation. The undeniable gutting of the U.S. House's bi-partisan legislation and the lack of any outreach to members of the other party by Sen. Tester made for difficult negotiations for all NGO's involved.
  • The reauthorization of the Farm Bill remains unpassed at this time by the U.S. House. Programs such as Forest Stewardship Contracting, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), SodSaver, and the Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program (WHIP) are just a few of the many conservation programs that are included in the Farm Bill which is reauthorized every 5 years. Current political gamesmanship has led to unending debate about the spending levels, cuts in direct payments to agriculture producers, and social services spending.
  • Not all lobbying efforts in Congress have been undermined by politically driven efforts. During the past two years, the U.S. House of Representatives actually passed the Sportsmen's Heritage Act of 2012. The U.S. House took decisive action to make needed reforms in the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of the Interior budgets. U.S. House committees held many hearings where hunting and conservation were singled out for their economic value in America. These are successes that demonstrate the broad based support that hunting, conservation, and sustainable use has to policy makers. Unfortunately, the U.S. Senate has continually failed to pass a budget, pass annual appropriations, or decisively pass pro-sportsmen's legislation.
  • SCI and our allies are anxious to undertake the challenges that will be presented during the 113th Session of Congress.
Safari Club International » Advocacy