H.R. 3590: Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act of 2013

H.R. 3590

Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act of 2013

Sponsor
Rep. Bob Latta

Date
February 4, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, February 4, 2014, the House will begin consideration of H.R. 3590, the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2013, under a rule.  The bill, which packages eight individual bills, was introduced on November 21, 2013 by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) and has seventy-four cosponsors.[1]



[1] H.R. 322, the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act; H.R. 2463, the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act; H.R. 2798, a bill regarding filming on public land; H.R. 1818, the Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act; H.R. 1206, the Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act; H.R. 2046, the Recreational Lands Self Defense Act; H.R. 2799, the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council Advisory Committee; and H.R. 1825, the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act.

Bill Summary

Title I: Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act

Title I contains the text of H.R. 322, which was introduced on January 18, 2013 by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) and referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee.  Title I amends the Toxic Substances Control Act to remove from the definition of a “chemical substance” any component of a pistol, revolver, firearm, shell, or cartridge, if these items are subject to a federal tax at the time of sale.  The bill also removes from the definition of “chemical substance” any sport fishing equipment and its components, if they are subject to a federal tax at the time of sale.

According to the Natural Resources Committee, “Although Congress long ago barred the EPA from banning certain types of ammunition, activist environmental groups are currently seeking an end runâ€Âaround that law by petitioning the EPA to ban the use of lead in hunting and fishing components.  A ban on lead bullets and tackle would increase costs for hunters, sports shooters, and fishermen; destroy jobs; and cause economic harm to the outdoor sportsmen and recreation industry.”  This title “protects the use of traditional ammunition and fishing tackle by reiterating and clarifying existing law to clearly limit EPA’s authority under the [TSCA].”

Title II: Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act

Title II contains the text of H.R. 2463, which was introduced on June 20, 2013 by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA).  H.R. 2463 was marked up on July 31, 2013 by the Natural Resources Committee and was ordered reported by unanimous consent.[1]  Title II amends the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act to facilitate the addition or expansion of public target ranges.  The bill increases the percentage of Pittman-Robertson funds states can use to build or operate a public target range, allowing up to ninety percent of the cost to come from Pittman-Robertson funds.[2]  The bill also allows states to retain the funds for five years to build and maintain the ranges.

The Pittman-Robertson Act, which was enacted in 1937, established a federal program in which “the money used to finance projects are not drawn from taxpayer funds or other miscellaneous receipts but are the direct result of excise taxes on ammunition and firearms.  This tax was established at the request of sportsmen, state wildlife agencies and ammunition manufacturers.  Funding can be used for the acquisition of wildlife habitat, hunter education, reintroduction of declining wildlife species, species research, wildlife population surveys and public target ranges.  These funds are distributed to the states under a formula that takes into consideration the size of the state and the number of hunting license holders.  The procedures for receiving and using this money include several requirements.  First, individual states must match the federal money at a rate of one state dollar for every three federal dollars.  Second, the state must prepare grant proposals describing the projects that will be funded with these federal dollars.  And finally, a state must assure the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that it will comply with a host of federal laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.”[3]  Since the Pittman-Robertson program was established, $6.7 billion has been distributed to the states.[4] 

Title III: Public Lands Filming

Title III contains the text of H.R. 2798, which was introduced on July 23, 2013 by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH).  H.R. 2798 was marked up on November 14, 2013 by the Natural Resources Committee and was ordered reported by a vote of 19-15.[5]  Title III establishes a special rule to allow commercial film crews of five persons or less to film in public areas on federal lands and waterways during public hours.  The bill sets an annual permit fee of $200, prohibits additional fees for these activities, and ensures crews are not prohibited from using cameras or related equipment.

Legislation enacted in 2000 required the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to establish a permit and fee system for commercial filming activities on federal lands.  The fees are based on the size of the film crew, the number of days of filming, and the amount and type of equipment used.[6]  The Secretaries also may assess additional fees for, e.g., administrative costs.  The law authorized the Secretaries to charge a fee for still photography conducted in nonpublic areas.  The proposed rule for implementing the legislation was issued in August of 2007, prompting complaints that it did not distinguish between the sizes of film crews.  As a result, a small film crew would be charged the same amount as a crew of thirty.  The final rule, issued in August of 2013, prompted similar complaints: “namely, media activities could be impeded; and, while the rule distinguishes fees between 1 and 30 people, the fees could be prohibitive and could push potential film production activities outside the United States.”[7]  Title III establishes a special rule to allow small commercial film crews to film in public areas on federal lands and waterways during public hours for a flat fee.

Title IV: Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act

Title IV contains the text of H.R. 1818, which was introduced on April 26, 2013 by Rep. Don Young (R-AK).  H.R. 1818 was marked up on July 31, 2013 by the Natural Resources Committee and was ordered reported by unanimous consent.[8]  Title IV directs the Secretary of the Interior to issue permits to forty-one hunters who legally hunted polar bears in Canada prior to their listing as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) in May of 2008.

The purpose of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), which was enacted in 1972, is to maintain marine mammals at healthy population levels.  As enacted, the MMPA prohibited the taking[9] or importing of marine mammals and marine mammal products, except for certain activities which are regulated and permitted.[10]  Congress has amended the MMPA several times, including the most recent amendments in 1994 that allowed the importing of polar bear trophies from Canada if certain criteria were met.[11]  “In 2008, six of the 13 Canadian polar bear populations were considered approved populations and a polar bear trophy from one of these populations could be imported into the U.S. after the hunter paid an importation permit fee.”[12]  However, “[o]n May 15, 2008, the Secretary of the Interior listed the worldwide polar bear population as threatened under the [ESA].  Threatened and endangered marine mammals are considered depleted species under the MMPA and the Act bans the importation of depleted species.”[13]  When the polar bears were listed as threatened, there were 41 hunters with legally hunted polar bears in the permitting process.  Title IV allows them to import the polar bear trophies to the U.S.

Title V: Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act

Title V contains the text of H.R. 1206, which was introduced on March 14, 2013 by Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA).  H.R. 1206 was marked up on April 24, 2013 by the Natural Resources Committee and was ordered reported by unanimous consent.  H.R. 1206 passed the House in June of 2013 by a vote of 401-0.[14]  Title V gives the Secretary of the Interior permanent authority to allow states to issue electronic federal migratory-bird hunting stamps (electronic “duck stamps”).  It gives this authorization following a successful pilot program that allowed select states to issue electronic duck stamps.

The Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act, passed by Congress in 1934, requires hunters over the age of sixteen to purchase a yearly federal duck stamp to hunt migratory waterfowl.  The price of federal ducks stamps has risen from $1 to the present cost of $15, and “[s]ince the inception of the Federal Duck Stamp Program, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has collected more than $800 million from the sale of duck stamps.[15]

The popularity of state electronic hunting licenses has recently increased, due to the ease with which individuals can use personal computers to purchase licenses from their state fish and wildlife department websites.[16]  Federal legislation enacted in 2006 “directed the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a three-year pilot program that would allow up to 15 States to issue electronic federal migratory bird hunting stamps.”[17]  A 2011 evaluation of the pilot program concluded that it was practical, readily accepted by consumers, and yielded few customer complaints.[18] Title V permanently allows the Secretary to authorize states to sell federal electronic duck stamps.

Title VI: Access to Water Resources Development Projects Act

Title VI contains the text of H.R. 2046, which was introduced on May 17, 2013 by Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) and referred to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  Title VI prohibits the Secretary of the Army from promulgating or enforcing regulations that prohibit an individual from possessing a firearm at a water resources development project administered by the Chief of Engineers if 1) the individual is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing the firearm, and 2) the possession complies with state law where the water development project is located.  According to the Natural Resources Committee, “Congress has passed legislation allowing citizens to exercise this right on National Park and National Wild Service lands, but did not address lands owned by the Army Corps.”  Title VI addresses this, protecting Second Amendment rights on land owned by the Army Corps.

Title VII: Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council Advisory Committee

Title VII contains the text of H.R. 2799, which was introduced on July 23, 2013 by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH).  H.R. 2799 was marked up on October 30, 2013 by the Natural Resources Committee and was ordered reported, as amended, by voice vote.[19]  Title VII establishes the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council Advisory Committee to advise the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture (“the Secretaries”) on wildlife and habitat conservation, hunting, and recreational shooting.

In 2007, President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13443, “direct[ing] federal agencies to ‘facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities and the management of game species and their habitat.’  On February 4, 2012, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the creation of a new Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council.”[20]  Title VII abolishes the existing Council and statutorily establishes a new Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council Advisory Committee, “whose duties [will] include implementing Executive Order 13443 and providing advice to [the Secretaries] on policies to conserve agricultural lands, forest lands, grasslands, rangelands and wetlands; to promote opportunities to hunt on federal lands; to recruit new hunters and shooters; to increase public awareness of the importance of wildlife conservation; and encourage coordination among the hunting and shooting sports community with the states, tribes and federal government.”[21]

Title VIII: Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act

Title VIII contains the text of H.R. 1825, which was introduced on May 3, 2013 by Rep. Dan Benishek (R-MI).  H.R. 1825 was marked up on June 12, 2013 by the Natural Resources Committee and was ordered reported by a vote of 28-15.[22]  Title VIII “clarifies federal authorities and policies for the management of hunting and fishing on public lands.  It provides additional protections for continued public access to public land for the purpose of recreational fishing, hunting, and shooting sports on U.S. Forest Service (FS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands.  The provisions . . . require federal land managers to support and facilitate public use and access for hunting, fishing and recreational shooting and create an ‘open until closed’ management regime for these activities on FS and BLM land, but does not give these uses priority over other multiple uses.  It requires an evaluation of the impact on hunting, fishing and recreational shooting in land and resource planning and eliminates redundancies in environmental review of hunting, fishing and recreational shooting opportunities.  The bill restates, in unambiguous language, Congress’ consistent position that BLM and FS lands designated as wilderness, wilderness eligible, or suitable and primitive or semiprimitive areas are open to all legal forms of hunting, fishing and recreational shooting unless there are good reasons to close such areas.  It also forecloses opportunities for continued nuisance lawsuits by classifying hunting, fishing and recreational shooting as ‘necessary’ to meet the minimum requirements for the administration of wilderness.”[23]

Despite Congress’ repeated efforts to communicate its intent that hunting, fishing, and shooting be permitted on multiple-use public lands, activists seek to stop these activities by targeting them with litigation.[24]  The lawsuits have altered the status quo and federal land management agencies have increasingly yielded by failing to exercise their land management discretion in a manner that facilitates access for sportsmen activities.  Under Title VIII, “these activities will be considered authorized and approved and thereby limit the ability of anti-hunting advocacy groups to use any ambiguity in the laws and force the land managing agencies to defend these activities in court or through the quagmire of administrative procedures, diverting resources that could otherwise be used for public recreation and wildlife conservation activities.”[25]



[2] Currently, Pittman Robertson funds can only be used to pay 75% of the cost of building or operating a public target range.

[3] Id. at 1-2.

[4] Id. at 2.

[6] Id. at 1-2.

[7] Id. at 2.

[9] “The MMPA defines ‘take’ as ‘to harass, hunt capture, or kill or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal.’”  Id.

[10] Id. at 1-2.

[11] Id. at 2.

[12] Id.

[13] Id.

[15] Committee Report 113-67 at 1-2.  These monies, deposited in the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, have been used to purchase or lease over 6 million acres of land at a total purchase price of over $1 billion for inclusion in the National Wildlife Refuge System.  The Federal Duck Stamp Office has indicated that 98 percent of the dollars deposited in the Fund is used for wetland acquisition.  The remaining 2 percent is spent on the printing and distribution of the stamps.”  Id. at 1.

[16] Id. at 2.

[17] Id. (emphasis added).

[18] Id.

[20] Id. at 4.  “It is comprised of 18 discretionary members and six ex officio members (the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Bureau of Land Management the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service).  The discretionary members are appointed by the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to serve three-year terms.”  Id.

[21] Id.  “The key differences between this measure and the existing Conservation Council are: a maximum of 16 rather than 18 discretionary members, and seven rather than six ex officio members by adding the Director of the National Park Service. The discretionary members shall include at least one representative from a state fish and wildlife agency, game bird hunting organization, wildlife conservation organization, big game hunting organization, tourism, outfitter or guiding industry, firearms or ammunition manufacturing industry, the hunting and shooting equipment retail industry, tribal resources management organization, agriculture industry and ranching industry.  In addition, members would be appointed by the Secretaries for a term of four rather than three years, [and] no officer or employee of the federal government can be named as a discretionary member . . .”  Id. at 4-5.

[23] Id. at 1-2.

[24] Id. at 2.

[25] Id.

Cost

According to CBO estimates, implementing H.R. 3590 would not have a significant impact on the federal budget.  “Enacting the bill would affect direct spending and revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply.  However . . . the net budgetary effects would not be significant in any year.”  The bill would impose a private-sector mandate, but CBO estimates that the cost of the mandate “would be small and fall well below the annual threshold established for private-sector mandates.”

Amendments

1)         Rep. Hastings (R-WA) Manager’s Amendment #5 – Amendment makes technical, clarifying and conforming changes to the Committee Print.

2)         Rep. Hanna (R-NY) Amendment #4 – Amendment requires a report on economic impacts of the Act. The report would include any expected increases in recreational hunting, fishing, shooting, and conservation activities; an estimate of jobs created to support such activities; an estimate of wages related to these jobs; and estimate of anticipated new local, State, and Federal revenue.

3)         Rep. Castro (D-TX) Amendment #7 – Amendment ensures that women and minority groups, as appropriate, are included for membership on the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council Advisory Committee.

4)         Rep. Gallego (D-TX) Amendment #18 – Amendment adds veterans service organizations to the list of discretionary members of the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council Advisory Committee. Many organizations, including the VA, include outdoor activities to help wounded veterans in their rehabilitation efforts.

5)         Rep. Broun (R-GA) Amendment #8 – Amendment requires that hunting, trapping, netting and fishing activities be included as land use in all land management plans to the extent that these activities are not clearly inconsistent with the purposes for which the Federal land is managed.

6)         Rep. Ellison (D-MN) Amendment #24 – Amendment strikes the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) waivers in the bill.

7)         Rep. Smith (R-MO) Amendment #6 –  Amendment preserves current motorized vessel management in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways so that sportsmen and families will still have access to the rivers to fish and gig. The Ozark National Scenic Riverways is a National Park in Southeast Missouri.

8)         Rep. Crawford (R-AR) Amendment #26 – Amendment allows the State office of the Cooperative Extension System of the Department of Agriculture and State department of fish and wildlife to determine regular agricultural practices for purposes of federal hunting guidelines.

9)         Rep. Fleming (R-LA) Amendment #1 – Amendment restores hunting access to the Kisatchie  National Forest for deer hunting with dogs. This includes private property protections by granting private landing owners the ability to create a buffer with their land to prevent inadvertent trespass.

10)      Rep. Holt (D-NJ) Amendment #20 – Amendment promotes the Secretary of the Interior's authority to consider climate change when making decisions related to recreation and conservation on public lands.

11)      Rep. Kildee (D-MI) Amendment #10 – Amendment maintains access to National Forest System lands for snowmobilers while a winter Travel Management Rule for National Forests is finalized.