July 07, 2014

S. 2363 – Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014

Noteworthy

Background: Senators Hagan and Murkowski introduced the bill on May 20, 2014. The bill contains some provisions that were included in S. 3525, the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012, and resolves budgetary points of order that lay against that bill.

Floor Situation: Senator Reid bypassed the committee process and placed the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act directly on the calendar through Rule XIV on May 21, 2014. Senator Reid filed cloture on the motion to proceed to the bill on June 25, 2014. The Senate is scheduled to vote on cloture on the motion to proceed to the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act on July 7 at 5:30 p.m.

Executive Summary: The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act combines nine Senate bills and additional provisions into one legislative package that seeks to support hunting, fishing and recreational activities, and habitat conservation programs.

Considerations on the Bill

The Senate invoked cloture on S. 3525, the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012, by a vote of 84 to 12 on November 15, 2012. Senator Reid returned S. 3525 to the Senate calendar on November 26, 2012, after vitiating the vote on its passage when the Senate sustained a budget point of order against the bill by a vote of 50 to 44.

S. 2363 has 45 cosponsors including 26 Republican cosponsors. The bill includes the following Senate bills:

  • S. 368, Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act Reauthorization of 2013, which the Energy and Natural Resources Committee reported with amendment by voice vote on May 16, 2013.
  • S. 741, North American Wetlands Conservation Extension Act of 2014, which the Environment and Public Works Committee reported with amendment by voice vote on February 6, 2014.
  • S. 51, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Reauthorization Act of 2013, which the Environment and Public Works Committee reported without amendment by voice vote on February 6, 2014.
  • S. 738, Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act of 2013. H.R. 1206, the companion bill, was reported out of the Environment and Public Works Committee without amendment by voice vote on February 6, 2014.
  • S. 1505, Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act.
  • S. 1212, Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act.
  • S. 847, Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act of 2013.
  • S. 1634, Hunter and Farmer Protection Act of 2013.
  • S. 170, Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act.

It also contains all but two provisions included in H.R. 3590, the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, which the House passed by a vote of 268 to 154 on February 5, 2014.

Notable Bill Provisions

Section 101 – Electronic duck stamps

Allows the secretary of the interior to authorize states to issue Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, known as duck stamps, electronically in accordance with certain requirements. Paper duck stamps are issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to authorize the licensee to hunt migratory waterfowl in any other state in accordance with that state’s hunting laws. Revenue generated by the sale of duck stamps is used to purchase or lease wetland habitat protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Duck stamps also serve as an entrance pass for national wildlife refuges. Currently, electronic duck stamps are sold in eight states. This provision would make the program nationwide.

Section 102 – Modification of definition of sport fishing equipment

Excludes ammunition and fishing tackle from regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Section 103 – Target practice and marksmanship

Supports the construction and expansion of public target ranges, including ranges on federal land, that accommodate archery or rifle, pistol, and shotgun shooting. Adjusts non-federal and federal cost shares for the construction, operation, and maintenance of public target ranges.

Section 104 – Exemption for subsistence users

Exempts takings of migratory birds and the collection of their eggs by indigenous Alaskans according to certain requirements under the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act.

Section 105 – Permits for import of polar bear trophies taken in sport hunts in Canada

Authorizes the Secretary of Interior to issue permits for the importation of polar bear trophies legally harvested in Canada before May 15, 2008. 

Section 106 – Baiting of migratory game birds

Prohibits taking a migratory game bird by baiting it with salt, grain, or other feed. Excludes certain areas from the definition of “baited area.” Authorizes the secretary of the interior to promulgate regulations and requires the secretary of agriculture to submit an annual report describing any changes to normal agricultural practices.

Section 107 – Recreational fishing, hunting, and shooting on federal public land

Requires federal public land managers to facilitate access for recreational fishing, hunting, and shooting. Requires public land managers to allow skilled volunteers to participate in the management of wildlife populations if hunting is prohibited by law, with certain exceptions.

Does not require motorized access for recreational fishing, hunting, and shooting within land designated as a wilderness study area or administratively classified as wilderness eligible or suitable. Authorizes each federal public land agency to permit use of land under its jurisdiction for shooting ranges and recreational shooting activities, except certain land within the National Wilderness Preservation System.  

Requires managing public land agencies to publish notice, demonstrate coordination with state fish and wildlife agencies, and report to Congress before taking actions that effectively close or significantly restrict 1,280 or more contiguous acres of federal public land or water to access for recreational fishing or hunting activities.

Section 108 – Annual permit and fee for film crews

Requires commercial film crews of five people or fewer to obtain a permit and pay an annual fee of $200 for commercial filming activities or similar projects on federal land and waterways.

Section 201 – Availability of Land and Water Conservation Fund

Of the funds appropriated for the Land and Water Conservation Fund each year, requires that not less than the greater of 1.5 percent of the amounts or $10 million be made available for projects appearing on a priority list annually developed by the secretaries of the interior and agriculture to secure recreational access to federal public land.   

Section 202 – Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act

Reauthorizes the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act. Exempts lands eligible for sale under certain federal laws from limitations on acquisitions of or interest in those lands. Transfers $10 million from fiscal years 2015 through 2024 from the Federal Land Disposal Account to the Treasury to be used for federal budget deficit reduction.

Section 203 – North American Wetlands Conservation Act

Reauthorizes the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and authorizes appropriations of $300 million from fiscal years 2014 though 2019. 

Section 204 – National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Establishment Act

Reauthorizes the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Authorizes appropriations from fiscal years 2014 through 2019 of $90 million to the secretary of interior, $30 million to the secretary of agriculture, and $30 million to the secretary of commerce.

Clarifies requirements governing contributions to the foundation. Authorizes federal agencies to provide additional funds to the foundation and authorizes the foundation to assess and collect fees for the management of such amounts received. Eliminates requirement that funds be used for matching contributions made to the foundation by private persons, state and local government agencies, and other entities, leaving this to the foundation’s discretion. Makes changes to the foundation’s board of directors, including requiring directors to have experience in natural resource conservation and represent a balance of expertise in ocean, coastal, freshwater, and terrestrial resource conservation “to the maximum extent practicable.”

Administration Position

The Administration has not taken a position on this bill.

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office has not scored this bill.  

Amendments

Five amendments have been filed at this time. It is unclear whether Senator Reid will allow for consideration of any amendments.