Testers work for sportsmen picks up bipartisan momentum
Senator renews push to increase public land access, strengthen Montana’s outdoor economy
(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester is continuing his fight to increase the rights of Montana’s hunters and anglers and to strengthen Montana’s outdoor economy.
Tester, along with Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), this week introduced new bipartisan legislation to increase public land access for hunters and anglers, preserve treasured places to hunt and fish and strengthen states’ roles in protecting wildlife.
During his tenure as Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, Tester pushed nearly identical legislation in 2012 that almost passed the Senate, but was blocked at the last minute due to political gamesmanship. With Montana’s outdoor economy contributing nearly $6 billion to the state’s overall economy, Tester today said Congress must pass a comprehensive sportsmen’s bill into law.
“Sportsmen and women have decided to give Congress one more chance and hopefully folks around here will listen this time,” Tester said. “This bill takes good ideas from both sides of the aisle to strengthen our outdoor economy and secure our outdoor heritage. It should have passed two years ago, and it should pass this year – but no matter what happens, I’m going to keep fighting for Montana’s sportsmen and women.”
Tester’s 2012 bill earned the support of 56 different conservation and wildlife groups, ranging from the National Shooting Sports Foundation to The Nature Conservancy. This year’s bill, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act, includes many provisions in Tester’s 2012 bill, including the Target Practice and Marksmanship Act and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act Reauthorization.
Tester also backed the SPORT Act in 2013, but the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act is product of negotiations across party lines that build upon last year’s bill.
Tester was Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus for two years. With Montana’s outdoor economy, led by hunting, fishing and recreation, creating or sustaining 64,000 jobs, he continues to seek ways to support Montana’s sportsmen and women. He recently called on the President to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and set aside at least 1.5 percent of that funding for public access projects.
The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act is also co-sponsored by Senators Mark Begich (D-Alaska), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and David Vitter (R-La.). A summary of the bill is available online HERE.