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February 05, 2014

The House and Senate Advance Legislation for Sportsmen and Women

Passage of House bill and introduction of Senate bill demonstrates progress

Today the House of Representatives, in a bipartisan vote, passed the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, SHARE Act (H.R. 3590). While in the Senate, Sens. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014 (S. 1996). Both packages support increased access for recreational opportunities across the nation as well as the protection of our fishing and shooting heritage.

“The bipartisan vote in the House and bipartisan set of sponsors in the Senate highlight how conservation issues that impact sportsmen and women can cut through partisan politics,” said American Sportfishing Association (ASA) Vice President Gordon Robertson.

The original Sportsmen’s Act’s co-sponsors were Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and David Vitter (R-La.).

The sportfishing industry, along with 35 other conservation, hunting and fishing organizations, all lent their support to the passage of the SHARE Act. Both the SHARE Act and the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014 include important bills that would benefit the recreational fishing community.

In particular, ASA strongly supports the Recreational Hunting and Fishing Heritage Opportunities provision as well as the Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection provision which are in both the House SHARE Act and in the Senate Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014 package. ASA also strongly supports the Making Public Lands Public and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Reauthorization bills that are also included in the larger Senate package.

“At a time when Congress is locked up in partisan politics, it is refreshing to see the House of Representatives act in a bipartisan manner by passing the SHARE Act as well as to see the Senate coming together to introduce a strong package,” noted Robertson. “ASA would like to thank Rep. Latta and Sens. Hagan and Murkoswki for their good work in putting these bills before Congress.”

Robertson further noted, “Although these bills are a great start, the inclusion of the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act during the Senate’s amendment process, will both strengthen the conservation benefits of the bill and benefit sportsmen and women across the nation.”

The National Fish Habitat Conservation Act (NFHCA) is a national conservation investment strategy that will extend the impact of our nation’s conservation dollars. The Act’s goal is to foster and facilitate landscape-scale, regional fish habitat conservation projects that originate in local communities, with anglers and conservation groups working together with state and federal agencies.

Robertson urges anglers and hunters across the nation to go to www.keepamericafishing.org to send a message to their Senators in support of S 1996.