Written by Dallas Safari Club
Two legislative measures – one federal, one state – are at the center of DSC’s legislative activities in March.
The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015
A coalition of 47 sporting and conservation organizations, including Dallas Safari Club, is actively supporting the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 (S.405). Recently introduced by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus members Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), S.405 is a package of measures that will expand, enhance and protect America’s hunting, fishing and conservation heritage.
“DSC helped shape several of the Act’s provisions, especially the Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act, which would correct unjust government takings of legally acquired property,” said Ben Carter, DSC executive director.
He explained, “Forty-one bears were taken in 2008 immediately prior to the species being listed under the Endangered Species Act. Listing meant the hides could not be imported to the U.S. This provision would allow the hides to be released to those 41 hunters.”
Although similar packages of measures have failed to advance in the previous two Congresses, Carter hopes the renewed, broad showing of support from organizations representing millions of hunters and anglers will lead to expeditious committee and floor consideration of S.405.
Texas Right to Hunt & Fish Constitutional Amendment
Support continues to grow for DSC-backed bills (HJR61/SJR22) proposing constitutional protections for hunting and fishing in Texas. Last week, the bills were discussed without opposition at a meeting of state-based outdoor groups. A sign-on letter is now circulating.
Currently, 18 states have similar amendments in their constitutions.
The measures, authored by Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) in the Texas House of Representatives and Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) in the Texas State Senate, would put the amendment question before Texas voters on the November ballot. The bill could advance to the House and Senate floors within the next month and passage will require a two-thirds majority in both chambers.
Ashby said, “I was pleased to work with DSC and other stakeholders on this important piece of legislation. Hunting and fishing is a fundamental right which Texans hold dear, and ensuring our future generations of Texans access to this tradition is essential.”
“We applaud Rep. Ashby for introducing this important bill,” said Carter. “Our club was proud to help with the development of the language, and we’re anxious to do everything we can to help it move forward. This is a measure to help ensure the future of Texas’ rich sporting traditions, outdoor heritage and effective fish and wildlife conservation.”