Time for Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 to Pass U.S. Senate Running Short
American Sportfishing Association
On December 6, Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said that the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 was on its last breaths within the U.S. Senate. Senators Tester (D-Mont.) and Sessions (R-Ala.) had reached an agreement regarding the budget point of order however, because of the short time remaining in the 112th Congress the odds of finding floor time for a vote are minimal. Staff members for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid agreed that there are several high priority issues left for the Senate and floor time is at a premium.
The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is disappointed that this hugely bipartisan package, which has been widely supported by a coalition of various conservation groups, has not yet advanced in the lame duck session. ASA and America’s anglers, through KeepAmericaFishing™, will work hard during the final weeks of the 112th Congress and in the future to support similar pieces of legislation.
The widely supported bill hit difficulty on November 26 when, in a surprise upset, the U.S. Senate failed to advance the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 (S. 3525). After months of discussion with Senate members by a diverse coalition of angling, hunting and conservation organizations to create a historic bill containing 17 key provisions for anglers, hunters and fish and wildlife conservation, the bill failed to pass over a party line vote on a procedural motion.
The bill ran into trouble when a point of order was raised about whether the bill violated a 2011 budget agreement and a motion to waive the point of order failed by 10 votes. Budget related disputes are not uncommon when large pieces of legislation come to the Senate floor. It is, however, very uncommon for a budget point of order challenging a provision that would modestly increase revenues to sink a bill. Six senators were not present and the vote on the procedural motion to waive the point of order fell along party lines with the exception of two senators. To see how your Senator voted, please visit the voting results on KeepAmericaFishing.org.
The most effective thing you can do is to call your Senator(s) office, and simply tell them to bring the bill to the floor and to vote YES for final passage on S3525. Please go to KeepAmericaFishing.org to take action or find contact information for your Senate members.
Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.), along with fourteen co-sponsors, introduced the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 on September 10, 2012. Individual bills of particular importance to the sportfishing community in the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 include:
The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act (S. 838) – Blocks ongoing attempts to federally ban lead in recreational fishing equipment and ammunition by amending the Toxic Substances Control Act.
National Fish Habitat Conservation Act (S. 1201) – Authorizes the National Fish Habitat Partnership, the most comprehensive effort ever attempted to conserve, restore and enhance fish habitat on a range-wide scale.
Making Public Lands Public Act (S. 901) – Increases access for angling, hunting and recreational shooting on federal lands by directing 1.5 percent of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to ensure access to fishing, hunting and other recreational activities.