The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) to modernize the use of Pittman-Robertson (PR) funds for recruiting hunters and recreational shooters. Passage of the bill is a huge success for sportsmen and women eager to inspire a new generation of hunters.
The bill, H.R. 2591, entitled the “Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow's Needs Act” increases flexibility for state wildlife managers by allowing the use of Pittman-Robertson (P-R) funds for recruiting hunters and recreational shooters. The added flexibility is critical to ensuring long-term stability of revenue sources to fund fish and wildlife conservation in the States.
If fully enacted, H.R. 2591 would expand the Multistate Conservation Grant Program by providing an additional $5 million per year from the archery-related excise taxes. The bill also caps the amount of funds that can be spent on hunter and recreational shooter recruitment to ensure wildlife conservation remains the focus of Pittman-Robertson.
Rep. Scott’s bill had the support of several hunting and shooting groups and was a top priority for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. The overall goal of Scott’s legislation is expanding the revenue going into Pittman-Robertson, not by raising taxes or fees, but by expanding the number of hunters and recreational shooters.
“With a national decline in outdoor recreational activities, Pittman-Robertson funds are shrinking and our state and local habitats are suffering, which is why I have been fighting to give states more flexibility in how they use their PR funds and hopefully attract more Americans to the outdoors in the process,” said Rep. Scott in a statement after House approval.
A companion bill in the U.S. Senate, S. 1613, sponsored by Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) is awaiting a hearing in the Environment and Public Works Committee.