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Murkowski, Heinrich Introduce Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act

Bill widely supported by leaders of the Senate Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus; Aims to enhance opportunities for hunters, anglers, and outdoor recreation enthusiasts.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015.

Access to public lands is the number one issue for America's sportsmen and women. The Sportsmen's Act includes a broad array of bipartisan measures to enhance opportunities for hunters, anglers, and outdoor recreation enthusiasts, reauthorize key conservation programs, improve access to public lands, and help boost the outdoor recreation economy. A full list of the measures in the package is available, here.

“Being from Alaska, I’m lucky. Our hunting and fishing is top-notch. We learn to love the ‘great outdoors’ very early on in the Last Frontier. We know how to enjoy it today, and we’re committed to making sure that future generations have the same great opportunities,” said Murkowski. “The bipartisan legislation we introduced today will help ensure that our grandchildren have the same opportunities to hunt and fish as we did growing up.”

"The number one issue for sportsmen and women across the country is access. This widely supported, bipartisan bill will open more areas to hunting and fishing and grow America's thriving outdoor recreation economy," said Heinrich. "Hunters and anglers alone spend more than $465 million per year in New Mexico, and outdoor recreation as a whole is directly responsible for 68,000 jobs in our state. As an avid hunter myself, I remain deeply committed to preserving our outdoor heritage and treasured public lands for future generations to enjoy."

The leaders of the Senate Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus are original cosponsors of the bill, including U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).

"Whether sportsmen and sportswomen go hunting or fishing to put food on the table, or for sport, or to pass down a tradition to their family, or for game management purposes, there is something in the Sportsmen's Act of 2015 for all of them," said Risch. "With more than a half-of-a-million sportsmen and sportswomen in the state of Idaho, this legislation will ensure they can continue to access their favorite hunting or fishing spot. Hunting and fishing give us a great reason to be in the great outdoors, a great reason to hand down traditions, and a great reason to support this legislation."

"As Co-Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus and as an avid sportsman, it makes me so proud that we can come together as Democrats and Republicans to preserve America's beloved outdoor traditions," said Manchin. "I've worked hard on these priorities ever since being the inaugural Co-Chairman of the Governors Sportsmen's Caucus, and I am continuing that work here in the Senate. Outdoor recreation is vital to sustaining our economy, preserving our family traditions, and maintaining our way of life. This comprehensive package will boost opportunities for hunters, fishers, outdoor enthusiasts, and conservationists alike; improve access to Federal Lands; and strengthen the overall outdoor recreation industry. I truly believe that the American people should be able to enjoy the great outdoors, and this bill expands people's ability to do just that."

"I am grateful for the opportunity to work with my colleagues on legislation to promote our country's hunting, fishing, and conservation heritage," said Fischer. "I am especially encouraged by the fact that this bill includes provisions I've championed to increase transparency regarding the Judgment Fund. This bill will help our efforts to track taxpayer-funded litigation that impacts public lands policies."

“Enjoying the outdoors has always been a part of life in North Dakota, where a little ice doesn’t stop our anglers from making a big catch and opening day is circled on calendars like birthdays and anniversaries,” said Heitkamp. “It’s our responsibility to make sure these resources remain for future generations, and this bipartisan set of bills would play an important role in expanding opportunities for hunting, fishing, and other recreational activities on public lands throughout our state. As Vice-Chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, I will continue to work to make sure our prairies and lakes stay open and preserved for years to come as our sportsmen and women deserve the chance to experience the outdoors and do what they love.”

The text of the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015 is available, here.