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senate Bill S. 659

Hunting and Fishing and Dead Polar Bears: Oh My!

Argument in favor

The bill reforms numerous laws surrounding hunting and fishing and increases funding for certain types of conservation while extending the duration of other conservation legislation and providing research grants.

ScottWalker's Opinion
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04/26/2015
"Just spoke to 1,000 bear hunters about my support for hunting & gun owner rights."
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John's Opinion
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06/21/2015
The land belongs to the people. We are far better stewards of it than Washington bureaucrats.
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Aaron's Opinion
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05/19/2015
It is not mans right to govern the natural resources placed on this earth by God. (Or allah, or shiva, or Kanye west or whatever liberals want).
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Argument opposed

A Cabela’s ad underwritten by the NRA and presented as legislation. Allows a toxic substance (lead) to be used as ammunition while hunting, increasing the risk of lead poisoning. Diverts money from wildlife conservation funds to build shooting ranges.

Loraki's Opinion
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08/10/2016
This is just so BOGUS! This irritates the heck out of me! This is a combination of TWELVE different bills rolled into one! Some of the provisions I like, and some I don't like or am neutral on. BREAK THIS BILL UP SO WE CAN VOTE ON EACH ITEM SEPARATELY! Here's the list of bills Senator Sullivan has clumped together: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2406 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/556 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/992 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/722 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/721 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/595 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1099 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/561 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/263 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/225 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/335 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/327
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ktc814's Opinion
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05/19/2015
I fully support the ownership of firearms, hunting, and fishing, however the conservation of land and the resources it contains is more important moving forward. Instead, use land that has been already developed or used for farming. Recycle land, rather than dip into the untouched.
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NACSP's Opinion
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08/12/2016
Omnibus bills like these, no matter how well intentioned, should not be permitted. By grouping things together, you make it more difficult for the will of the people to be heard. I support some parts, but not all. This bill essentially makes it all or nothing.
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What is Senate Bill S. 659?

This bill focuses on public land use and conservation, but deals with everything from polar bears to where people are allowed to have guns. There are eight very different provisions, bundled under the title of the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act. 

Here's everything the bill does:

  • Reauthorizes the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, the African Elephant Conservation Act, the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1994, the Asian Elephant Conservation Act of 1997, the Great Ape Conservation Fund, and the Marine Turtle Conservation Fund through 2020;
  • Amends the Toxic Substances Control Act to exempt firearms, ammunition, and sport fishing equipment from chemical regulations;
  • Amends the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act to include increased funding for public target ranges and extend a requirement that some money from wildlife restoration funds be used for wetlands conservation projects;
  • Requires the Dept. of the Interior to allow hunters to bring polar bear parts into the country if the hunter proves the polar bear was legally killed in Canada before 2008, when the polar became a threatened species;
  • Revises the definition of a baited area with regards to the prohibition on killing migratory game birds;
  • Prevents the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (CoE) from creating or enforcing regulations that ban people from having firearms in water resource development projects;
  • Amends the Great Ape Conservation Act of 2000 to allow the Dept. of the Interior to award a multi-year grant for long term conservation research on great apes and their habitats; and
  • Amends the Marine Turtle Conservation Act of 2004 to allow U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, etc.) to receive federal funding for marine turtle conservation projects.

Impact

People who use public target ranges; people involved in wetland conservation projects; people trying to bring dead polar bears into the country; hunters of migratory game birds; researchers of great apes and their habitats; firearm and sport fishing equipment manufacturers; the Dept. of the Interior; CoE; U.S. territories seeking funding for marine turtle conservation projects

Cost of Senate Bill S. 659

$604.00
The CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost $505 million from 2017-2021 and $95 million to implement after 2021. The CBO also finds that the bill would increase spending by $4 million over a ten year period.

More Information

In Depth: Sponsoring Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) explained in a hearing that the bill would aid conservation because it:
"represents the furtherance of the American System of Conservation Funding, which has funded fish and wildlife conservation for the past 76 years. The hunting and fishing licenses purchased by sportsmen, coupled with excise taxes on the equipment sportsmen buy, fund state efforts to manage fish and wildlife that benefit an array of species, and continue to enhance our nation's sporting heritage. There are always going to be those who don't think we should kill animals. But, there is no denying that the greatest source of conservation funding comes from the sporting community themselves."
However, many have argued that the provision of the bill exempting firearm ammunition and fishing equipment from chemical regulations would legalize using lead ammunition. As Bill Snape at the Center for Biological Diversity points out:
"The EPA is currently allowed to regulate or ban any chemical substance for a particular use, including the lead used in shot and bullets. Affordable, effective nontoxic alternatives exist for lead ammunition and lead sinkers for all hunting and fishing activities. There are powerful reasons we banned toxic lead from gasoline, plumbing and paint — lead is a known neurotoxin that endangers the health of hunters and their families and painfully kills bald eagles and other wildlife. There’s no reason to let this absolutely preventable epidemic of lead poisoning to continue.”
Of Note: Sen. Sullivan's bill is actually a combination of many previous bills, with each provision usually representing a previous bill or current one that hasn't succeeded yet. Each individual previous bill can be seen here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Media:

AKA

Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2016

Official Title

A bill to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife
      Committee on Environment and Public Works
    IntroducedMarch 4th, 2015
    "Just spoke to 1,000 bear hunters about my support for hunting & gun owner rights."
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    This is just so BOGUS! This irritates the heck out of me! This is a combination of TWELVE different bills rolled into one! Some of the provisions I like, and some I don't like or am neutral on. BREAK THIS BILL UP SO WE CAN VOTE ON EACH ITEM SEPARATELY! Here's the list of bills Senator Sullivan has clumped together: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2406 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/556 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/992 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/722 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/721 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/595 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1099 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/561 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/263 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/225 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/335 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/327
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    The land belongs to the people. We are far better stewards of it than Washington bureaucrats.
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    I fully support the ownership of firearms, hunting, and fishing, however the conservation of land and the resources it contains is more important moving forward. Instead, use land that has been already developed or used for farming. Recycle land, rather than dip into the untouched.
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    Omnibus bills like these, no matter how well intentioned, should not be permitted. By grouping things together, you make it more difficult for the will of the people to be heard. I support some parts, but not all. This bill essentially makes it all or nothing.
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    This Combo-Bill needs to have a shotgun used on it. My friend Loraki is correct, tear this bill apart. Divide and conquer!
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    It is not mans right to govern the natural resources placed on this earth by God. (Or allah, or shiva, or Kanye west or whatever liberals want).
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    Yeah I'm pretty sure we have park rangers that better stewards of nature than those that hunt for fun and along with a group that loves guns more than their own family.
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    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ !!
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    The federal government should have no involvement in local hunting or fishing policies. Only locals are in touch with the needs of their communities. Decisions like these should be left to States and counties. Federal gov't also has no business subsidizing shooting ranges or hunting and fishing permits. Do supporters of these ideas even consider where the money comes from? Have you noticed that the cost of everything is increasing, rapidly? That is called "inflation", and is a measure of our currency losing value. The value loss is caused by things like our government leaving the "gold standard" (yes, our currency's value is no longer backed by gold), continuing to grow the deficit by overspending, and printing and circulating more worthless currency to cover its expenses.
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    Can we not have some areas where animals are actually safe from being hunted? Are there not enough places to hunt as it is?
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    Public lands should be set aside for wildlife and nature not hunters and fishermen.
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    The federal government has no business funding shooting ranges.
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    I love hunting but there comes a time when some common sense is used and if you weren't raised on gun safety you never fire a weapon in the direction people are in. A national park is used for recreation and nature lovers to enjoy the great outdoors, they shouldn't have to fear a stray round striking them or their loved ones. Let's start using common sense people how do you know where a person is there for a nature walk or not? You don't so your jeopardizing the lives of someone for your own hobby..
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    Republicans and the NRA are extremely dangers to this country and its survival as a super power.
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    All guns should be illegal. Let's stop killing things.
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    Trustworthy? Many a majority, but the rules are placed to stop those that choose to go their own way.
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    Some of the bills I am for others I am against I would like to see them separated and voted on individually
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    Hunting on federal lands needs to be stopped.
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    No! This bill was loaded with crap. Fix it. Wildlife rangers are far better stewards than hunters.
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