WASHINGTON, D.C.–It’s action in the U.S. Senate that could keep the federal government from taking the lead out of your hunting ammo, among several other provisions, but now the lead is in the effort to get it passed. The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014 has stalled in the U.S. Senate.
Mississippi’s senators Roger Wicker (R) and Thad Cochran (R) were both original co-sponsors of the bill, part of which would exempt your hunting ammo from regulations that would take the lead out of bullets and replace it with other substances deemed environmentally friendly by the federal government.
From a news release from Cochran’s camp:
Cochran was among the 56 Senators who voted Thursday to continue to debate and consider amendments to the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014 (S.2363), a comprehensive effort to address federal policies affecting hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation. Because that vote refuted a bid by the Senate majority to limit the consideration of amendments, the measure was withdrawn.
“I am disappointed that this measure has been withdrawn and that we will not be given a chance to consider some very good amendments to enhance the ability of people to enjoy hunting, fishing and the outdoors,” said Cochran, an original cosponsor of S.2363 and author of three amendments of importance to Mississippians. “I hope we will have a chance to revisit this legislation before the end of the 113th Congress.”
Before the bill was pulled, Cochran introduced an amendment to allow state fish and wildlife agencies to extend the hunting season for certain migratory waterfowl by two days just for military veterans and active duty military personnel.
“Some states now set aside periods during hunting season for youth. My amendment is based on the same idea but for those who have served our country in the military. For the sportsmen who might miss much of the season serving their country, a few extra days to hunt is well deserved. I think it’s a small, but worthwhile, gesture to show our gratitude for that service,” Cochran said.
The two-day set aside would be outside the federal migratory bird seasonal framework established by the Department of the Interior. Under the amendment, the two days cannot occur more than seven days before or seven days after open seasons set for migratory waterfowl. This legislation, for instance, would allow the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to permit military members and veterans to hunt an extra weekend.
The two other Cochran amendments included legislation to:
- Force the federal government to recognized Mississippi’s efforts to extend its seaward boundary to nine geographic miles for the purpose of recreational fisheries management. Governor Phil Bryant signed legislation that took effect in July 2013 to extend state waters in the Gulf of Mexico. The federal government, however, today only recognizes a three-mile limit, which inhibits recreational fishing activities in Mississippi waters. (http://1.usa.gov/1n90k7t)
- Prohibit the federal agencies from using any funding, resources or other means to help maintain full or partial gun registries by any other organization, including states and local governments. The proposal makes exceptions for permissible law enforcement activities. (http://1.usa.gov/1mNVQsv)
Here are the three big bills that are part of the Act, which is now stalled:
- The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act, cosponsored by Cochran, to exempt ammunition and fishing tackle that contain lead from being regulated by the Toxic Substances Control Act, leaving the existing authority to state fish and game agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (http://1.usa.gov/1aHXK87)
- The Permanent Duck Stamp Act, introduced by Wicker, to allow states to issue electronic duck stamps that enable hunters to participate in duck season while waiting for the physical stamp to arrive in the mail. (http://1.usa.gov/SOs7Cl)
- North American Wetlands Conservation Act Reauthorization, cosponsored by Cochran and Wicker, to renew this program through FY2017 and to continue providing matching grants for wetland conservation. The NAWCA has benefitted wetland conservation within the Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Mississippi.
A full summary of the legislative provisions in S.2363, which has been placed on the Senate calendar, is available here: http://1.usa.gov/1sjP3dp
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