January 2022 Legislative Update
The bipartisan Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act (HR 5608) passed the US House of Representatives on a 393-33 vote and now resides in the US Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. RMEF is encouraging members to reach out to their US Senators to sign on as co-sponsors, and to vote for final passage.
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (HR2773) is a top priority for state wildlife agencies because it would provide $1.3 billion a year for State Wildlife Action Plans focusing on at-risk and endangered species. This funding would come from the Treasury and would be in addition to Pittman-Robertson funds that states receive from revenue generated by firearms and ammunition.
Washington’s Fish and Wildlife Commission ended the state’s spring bear season when it failed to authorize the 2022 rule on a 4-4 vote. Biologists with the agency had recommended the season, as it had for many years, to address areas with higher bear conflicts and depredation. Citizens petitioned the commission to reconsider the vote, and RMEF has encouraged its members to support reinstating the season.
Washington also has several controversial issues brewing at the state legislature, including proposals to reform how the commission appointments and vacancies are addressed. Anti-hunting organizations are also pushing to change the commission’s mission from that of providing hunting opportunities to a “non-consumptive” focus.
Oregon has introduced legislation that would fund a state highway crossing program and make it competitive for Federal grants that RMEF championed in the bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. RMEF encourages every state in elk country to take steps to secure these competitive federal grants.
Colorado has announced legislation that would prohibit mountain lion and bobcat hunting. Arizona anti-hunting organizations are also pressuring their commission to end predator hunting. Vermont has legislation to ban leghold and body gripping traps. Information about these and other bills that RMEF is engaged with can be found on the RMEF advocacy webpage. https://www.rmef.org/take-action/#/ There are tools to find your legislators, to comment on rules and legislation, and even find information about upcoming elections and how to register to vote.