On July 26, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) passed S.1514, the Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation for Wildlife Act (HELP for Wildlife Act), with a bipartisan vote of 14-7.
Before passing the bill, the EPW Committee voted to add three amendments to the HELP for Wildlife Act, including:
- To authorize $15 million annually for fiscal years 2018-2022 for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Great Lakes Science Center to conduct monitoring, assessments, and research of fisheries in the Great Lakes Basin;
- To allow the importation of 41 polar bears that were legally harvested in Canada prior to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service import ban on May 15, 2008;
- To allow land-grant universities to use land owned by the university to meet the in-kind cost share requirement under the Pittman-Robertson Act.
In June, EPW Committee Chairman and Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Member Senator John Barrasso (WY) introduced S.1514 with bipartisan support to reauthorize pro-sportsmen conservation programs and to provide regulatory clarity for sportsmen and women.
On July 19, the Committee held a hearing on the bill, in which Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) President Jeff Crane submitted written testimony in strong support of the bill. Additionally, more than 50 of the nation’s leading conservation organizations, including CSF, submitted a letter to the EPW Committee expressing their support for this legislation.
With the passage of S.1514 out of the EPW Committee, the HELP for Wildlife Act can now be scheduled for a floor vote in the Senate.
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- Supporting increased federal or state excise taxes on sporting goods (28.17%)
- Supporting increases in the costs of hunting and fishing licenses (16.90%)
- Purchasing additional shooting, hunting, or fishing equipment (11.27%)
- Purchasing conservation oriented license plates (5.63%)
- Purchasing either species-specific or general habitat stamps (8.45%)
- Introducing additional participants to recreational shooting, hunting, and/or fishing (29.58%)