Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mark Pryor goes hunting — and fishing — for votes

Posted By on Wed, Nov 6, 2013 at 11:46 AM

click to enlarge TAKING AIM: Sen. Pryor (left) with brother in a duck blind. He's taking aim today at the outdoor vote.
  • TAKING AIM: Sen. Pryor (left) with brother in a duck blind. He's taking aim today at the outdoor vote.

Is there a surer sign of election season than an Arkansas politician in full embrace of hunters and fisherpeople? Bullets and hooks are not to be trifled with.

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor today announced his membership in a bipartisan group pushing legislation to help just that voter segment, including with exemption of  some outdoors expenditures  from nasty ol' budget sequestration. 

Read on for his release on the legislative package (don't anybody tell Sen. Missy Irvin the bills include continued encouragement for conservation of wetlands; she might confuse it with another Blueway project):

U.S. Senator Mark Pryor, Vice-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, today signed on to the Sportsmen’s and Public Outdoor Recreation Traditions (SPORT) Act, a legislative package that includes bills introduced by both Republicans and Democrats to expand access to federal public lands for hunting and fishing, reauthorize critical wildlife habitat programs, and reform existing laws and regulations that keep people from enjoying the outdoors.

The legislation was introduced by Senator Kay Hagan (NC), Co-Chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus. Along with Pryor, it was cosponsored by Senator Jon Tester (MT), former Co-Chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus; Senator Mark Begich (AK); Senator Mark Udall (CO); and Senator Martin Heinrich (NM).

“Hunting and fishing aren’t just recreational sports in Arkansas, they’re the lifeblood of our communities and our economy,” Pryor said. “That’s why I’m proud to support this common-sense package that protects the freedom of our sportsmen, supports our families, and strengthens our economy.”

The SPORT Act would permanently exempt Sportsmen Trust Funds from budget sequestration. The revenue for these trust funds derive from excise taxes levied on bows and arrows; guns and ammunition; fishing tackle and equipment; and motorboat fuel, and should not have been subject to sequestration.

Other provisions in the package include:

• The Farmer and Hunter Protection Act, which prevents the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from unfairly penalizing farmers and sportsmen for rolling their fields during hunting season.

• Making Public Lands Public, which improves access to existing federal public lands that have significantly restricted access for hunting, fishing and other recreational purposes;

• The Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act, which helps states build and maintain public shooting ranges and promote firearm safety;

• The reauthorization of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). Over the last 20 years, this program has funded over 1,600 projects that conserved more than 20 million acres of wetlands across North America. NAWCA is also cost-effective, with every dollar of federal funding traditionally generating three dollars in non-federal money;

• The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act, which excludes ammo and fishing tackle from the Toxic Substances Control Act, leaving decisions about tackle to state fish and game agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service;

• The Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act, which grants the Secretary of the Interior permanent authority to authorize any state to issue electronic duck stamps.

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