RELEASE: SPORTSMEN’S BILL STALLED, IMPEDING DEBATE ON COCHRAN’S PLAN TO EXTEND HUNTING SEASONS FOR MILITARY & VETERANS
Cochran Voted for Full Debate & Consideration of Amendments to the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today said he is disappointed that popular Senate legislation to improve hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation policies has been withdrawn, a development that also suspends consideration of his amendment to allow members and veterans of the Armed Forces added time to hunt certain migratory birds.
Cochran was among the 56 Senators who voted Thursday to continue to debate and consider amendments to the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014 (S.2363), a comprehensive effort to address federal policies affecting hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation. Because that vote refuted a bid by the Senate majority to limit the consideration of amendments, the measure was withdrawn.
“I am disappointed that this measure has been withdrawn and that we will not be given a chance to consider some very good amendments to enhance the ability of people to enjoy hunting, fishing and the outdoors,” said Cochran, anoriginal cosponsor of S.2363 and author of three amendments of importance to Mississippians. “I hope we will have a chance to revisit this legislation before the end of the 113th Congress.”
Before the bill was pulled, Cochran introduced an amendment to allow state fish and wildlife agencies to extend the hunting season for certain migratory waterfowl by two days just for military veterans and active duty military personnel.
“Some states now set aside periods during hunting season for youth. My amendment is based on the same idea but for those who have served our country in the military. For the sportsmen who might miss much of the season serving their country, a few extra days to hunt is well deserved. I think it’s a small, but worthwhile, gesture to show our gratitude for that service,” Cochran said.
The two-day set aside would be outside the federal migratory bird seasonal framework established by the Department of the Interior. Under the amendment, the two days cannot occur more than seven days before or seven days after open seasons set for migratory waterfowl. This legislation, for instance, would allow the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to permit military members and veterans to hunt an extra weekend.
The two other Cochran amendments included legislation to:
· Force the federal government to recognized Mississippi’s efforts to extend its seaward boundary to nine geographic miles for the purpose of recreational fisheries management. Governor Phil Bryant signed legislation that took effect in July 2013 to extend state waters in the Gulf of Mexico. The federal government, however, today only recognizes a three-mile limit, which inhibits recreational fishing activities in Mississippi waters. (http://1.usa.gov/1n90k7t)
· Prohibit the federal agencies from using any funding, resources or other means to help maintain full or partial gun registries by any other organization, including states and local governments. The proposal makes exceptions for permissible law enforcement activities. (http://1.usa.gov/1mNVQsv)