Sens. Murkowski, Heinrich Announce Growing Bipartisan Support for Sportsmen’s Act

Legislation would increase opportunities for hunting, fishing and boost outdoor recreation economy

March 2, 2015

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) today announced 12 new Republican and Democratic cosponsors to the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015.

The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act, which was introduced last month, includes a broad array of bipartisan measures to enhance opportunities for hunters, anglers, and outdoor recreation enthusiasts, reauthorize key conservation programs, improve access to public lands, and help boost the outdoor recreation economy.

“Growing support for the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act shows that increasing access and providing greater opportunities are important to America’s sportsmen and sportswomen,” Sen. Murkowski said. “Outdoor activities like hunting and fishing are traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation. In my home state of Alaska, more than 125,000 sportsmen and women engage in hunting activities each year. The sale of fishing licenses alone last year generated an estimated $1.4 billion for Alaska’s economy. I cannot underscore enough how important protecting these activities is for Alaska, and the  growing support of this legislation shows that it’s important to protect these activities nationwide.”

“The Sportsmen’s Act is gaining new momentum and earning widespread, bipartisan support,” Sen. Heinrich said. “Hunting and fishing are a way of life for millions of Americans – especially in New Mexico where outdoor recreation as a whole is directly responsible for 68,000 jobs. This bill would improve hunting and fishing access on public lands while growing the outdoor recreation economy. America's public lands are part of the fabric of our democracy, and I remain deeply committed to preserving them for future generations to enjoy.”

The bill’s new cosponsors include, Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Angus King (I-Maine), and Dean Heller (R-Nev.).

The leaders of the Senate Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus are original cosponsors, including Sens. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).

A hearing on the provisions of the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act under the jurisdiction of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is scheduled for Thursday, March 12, at 10 a.m. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is planning on holding a separate hearing on the provisions under its jurisdiction soon.

The text of the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015 is available here. A full list of the provisions included in the package is also available on the energy committee’s website.