WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) today welcomed Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and James Risch (R-Idaho), co-chair and vice chair, respectively, of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, as cosponsors of the Sportsmen’s Act. The bill recognizes and ensures the rightful place of hunting and fishing on our nation’s public lands.
“I am very pleased that my colleagues, Sens. Thune and Risch, have joined me in this effort to move a comprehensive sportsmen’s package through Congress,” Murkowski said. “They have shown tremendous leadership in their key roles with the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, and their support validates that we have the right combination of bills to move this package through the Senate and House.”
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Sportsmen’s Act, is also a cosponsor. Other cosponsors include Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.), Richard Burr (R-NC), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and John Barrasso (R-Wyo).
Access to public lands is the number one issue facing American sportsmen and women. The difficulty of finding places where hunting and fishing are allowed is the top reason people give when asked why they no longer participate in these traditional past times. In 2003, a U.S. Department of the Interior report to Congress found that 35 million acres of public land did not offer adequate access for sportsmen and women.
Among the provisions in the package:
- The Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act protects the public’s right to engage in recreational hunting, fishing and shooting on federal land;
- The Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act enables the Secretary of the Interior to authorize any state to issue electronic duck stamps;
- The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act excludes ammunition and fishing tackle from the Toxic Substances Control Act and leaves decisions about tackle to state fish and game agencies and the US Fish and Wildlife Service;
- Bows Transported through National Parks allows bows to be transported across national park lands. Currently, firearms can be legally transported but not bows.