December 17, 2019
SCI welcomed a clear bipartisan win for hunters today as the U.S. House of Representatives adopted legislation to provide State fish & wildlife agencies the flexibility they need to bolster their marketing plans and expand access to learn-to-hunt programs. These reforms have been pushed for several years, most notably by Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA), an avid hunter.
Created in 1937, the Pittman-Robertson fund for wildlife conservation is supported by excise taxes paid by hunters. Rep. Scott’s Modernizing Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow’s Needs Act reforms P-R to free up money to support hunter recruitment, retention, and reactivation. The long-term goal is to address a decline in hunting participation in the U.S. that, in turn, leads to declines in funds available for habitat enhancements and other conservation efforts.
SCI has backed modernizing the P-R fund for several years and promoted Rep. Scott’s bill during the 2019 SCI’s Lobby Day in May. Ben Cassidy, SCI’s Director of Government Affairs, welcomed news of the House vote. “Modernizing Pittman-Robertson will allow funds generated by hunters to go towards ensuring that more Americans take to the field. Creating more hunters means creating more money for conservation. SCI commends the House of Representatives and Rep. Scott for passing this legislation and we look forward to the Senate doing the same later this week” said Cassidy.
The P-R reforms were included in a final fiscal year 2020 spending bill for the Department of Interior and other federal agencies and passed the House by a vote of 297-120. The spending bill will fund the Interior Department through September 30, 2020.