On November 26, in a surprise upset, the U.S. Senate failed to advance the Sportsmen's Act of 2012 (S. 3525). After months of discussion with Senate members by a diverse coalition of angling, hunting and conservation organizations to create a historic bill, it failed to pass over a party-line vote on a procedural motion.
Senators Tester (D-Mont.) and Sessions (R-Ala.) are working hard to resolve the budget point of order differences. When this compromise is reached the bill will again go to the Senate floor for a vote.
The bill ran into trouble when a point of order was raised about whether the bill violated a 2011 budget agreement and a motion to waive the point of order failed by 10 votes. Budget related disputes are not uncommon when large pieces of legislation come to the Senate floor. It is however very uncommon for a budget point of order challenging a provision that would modestly increase revenues to sink a bill. Six senators were not present and the vote on the procedural motion to waive the point of order fell along party lines with the exception of two senators.
Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.), along with fourteen co-sponsors, introduced the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 on September 10. Highlights from the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 that directly affect anglers include:
The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act (S. 838) – Blocks ongoing attempts to federally ban lead in recreational fishing equipment and ammunition by amending the Toxic Substances Control Act.
National Fish Habitat Conservation Act (S. 1201) – Authorizes the National Fish Habitat Partnership, the most comprehensive effort ever attempted to conserve, restore and enhance fish habitat on a range-wide scale.
Making Public Lands Public Act (S. 901) – Increases access for angling, hunting and recreational shooting on federal lands by directing 1.5 percent of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to ensure access to fishing, hunting and other recreational activities.