WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Thad Cochran, R-Miss., both long-time members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, are cosponsoring bipartisan legislation that bundles an assortment of bills to increase opportunities for hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation in Mississippi and around the nation.
The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014 (S.2363) is a comprehensive package of policies from a dozen separate bills written to improve the public’s ability to enjoy the outdoors. Half of the bills incorporated into S.2363 are sponsored or cosponsored by Cochran and Wicker, including the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act (S.1505) and the Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act (S.738).
“Mississippians know the importance of efforts to preserve our natural resources for future generations,” Wicker said. “The Sportsmen’s Act would expand access to federal lands by hunters and fishermen while promoting the conservation of our nation’s habitats. Further, it would expand shooting and hunting opportunities on public lands, create more shooting ranges, and keep the price of ammunition from rising significantly by blocking EPA’s plans to ban traditional ammunition made with lead."
“Mississippians appreciate our state for its natural beauty and the excellent opportunities it provides for hunting, fishing and recreation. These activities are a way of life in Mississippi and are important to our economy,” Cochran said. “The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act deserves broad support for its policies and reforms that will protect and enhance opportunities to hunt, fish and enjoy the outdoors.”
Among the provisions included in the wide-ranging legislation, currently supported by 42 Senators, are:
• 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
Fishing, hunting and wildlife watching supports more than 66,000 jobs in Mississippi and has a $2.7 billion annual economic impact ($1.14 billion from hunting; $772 million from fishing; and, $829 million from wildlife watching), according to the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine.