Around the States: Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin 

Delaware: Sunday hunting for game birds continues to move forward in the First State after House Bill 271 advanced in the Senate Environment, Energy and Transportation Committee last Tuesday. SCI Eastern States and Local Liaison Bee Frederick testified in support of the bill and joined several in state and national sportsmen’s organizations advocating for the repeal of the antiquated blue law. The full Delaware Senate is expected to vote on the bill later today.

Florida: Last week, SCI submitted a letter encouraging the National Park Service to reconsider and withdraw any proposed Wilderness designations on Big Cypress National Preserve and Addition Lands. SCI supports increased backcountry access for sportsmen and women who wish to hunt and recreate in Big Cypress, and SCI encourages the Service to adhere to Congress’ directives to protect traditional uses of the lands that compose the Preserve and reconsider any anticipated Wilderness designations. Read the letter. 

Kentucky: Despite opposition from all the in state and national sportsmen’s organizations, Senate Bill 3 advanced in Bluegrass State. The bill attempts to move the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (DFWR) to the Department of Agriculture and would authorize the Commissioner of Agriculture to appoint all members of the KDFWR Commission. It’s important to note that there is not a single state in the entire country where the wildlife agency is attached to or directly connected to their state department of agriculture. SCI issued a HAAC alert opposing Senate Bill 3 and also joined a coalition of national and in-state sportsmen’s groups in a group opposition action alert for Senate Bill 3 that was sent to the legislature. Senate Bill 3 was given initial approval in the Agriculture Committee and subsequently passed the full Senate by a vote of 20-16.

Oregon:  SCI filed comments challenging the proposed ballot language for Initiative Petition 28 with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office.  IP 28 is the third rendition of an initiative petition that would ban hunting, fishing, trapping, pest control, and animal agriculture, among other things, and would be slated for the ballot in 2026 should the proponents be successful in gathering the requisite number of signatures.  IP 13 is still active as well for 2024.  Read the comments. 

Pennsylvania: Sunday hunting legislative package introduced with House Bills 2106, 2107, and 2108. These bills would remove the Sunday hunting prohibition and give the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) full authority over hunting on Sundays, strengthen trespass laws, facilitate assistance with agricultural crop damage, and provide that one of nine PGC Commissioners be actively engaged in normal agricultural operation.

Wisconsin: Following the Governor’s signature, Wisconsin hunters can now use an airgun when pursuing game animals in seasons open to firearm hunting and use modern muzzleloaders. Senate Bill 586 expanded the allowed use of airguns for hunting from small game to all game, including deer, when firearm seasons are open. Senate Bill 587 updates the language for defining a muzzle-loading firearm used for hunting in the state; the bill would allow for the use of encapsulated propellent charges for muzzleloading firearms in Wisconsin. SCI supported both bills during the legislative and administrative signatory process.

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