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November 2019 Legislative Update


SUPPORT PROP 5! VOTE YES FOR THE NOVEMBER 2019 TEXAS CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

In November, a Texas constitutional amendment will appear on the ballot. A simple majority vote will appropriate the revenues from sales tax on sporting goods equipment to fund state parks and historical sites. Sen. Lois Kolkhorst of Brenham and Rep. John Cyrier of Bastrop, with the approval of Governor Abbott, led the Texas Legislature to pass bills calling for the constitutional vote. Between 1993 and 2017, the state’s sporting goods sales tax has generated between $60 million and $165 million annually for a total of $2.5 billion. During that time, only 40% percent of the funding found its way into the budgets of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department or the Texas Historical Commission as intended. Many citizens incorrectly assume the taxes they pay on sporting goods were fully allocated to support parks, not realizing that significant portions of the Sporting Goods Sales Tax are diverted to other purposes. TPWD operates 95 parks and historical sites of its own around the state. The system covers more than 630,000 acres and attracts almost 10 million visitors annually. Its 2019 budget is $86 million, $60 million of which comes from its current share of the sporting goods sales tax. TPWD has been faced with many challenges and needed repairs as a result of severe weather and flooding over the past several years (in the last 10 years, TPWD has experienced more than $100 million in flood damage to park’s facilities around the state), in addition to the expenses required to routinely maintain Texas state parks. If approved, the amendment would authorize 94% of the revenue to TPWD’s parks and historical sites and 6% to sites under the Texas Historical Commission.

SUPPORT H.R. 3742: RECOVERING AMERICA’S WILDLIFE ACT

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act has been introduced in the U.S. House by Representatives Dingell (D-MI-12) and Fortenberry (R-NE-01). This bipartisan legislation establishes a 21st Century funding model for the proactive conservation of fish and wildlife. This legislation redirects $1.3 billion annually in existing revenues to state fish and wildlife agencies to implement their science-driven wildlife action plans, and an additional $97.5 million to tribal wildlife managers to conserve species on tribal lands and waters. This funding will ensure those with a proven track record of success in species conservation and recovery can proactively conserve at-risk fish and wildlife in a voluntary, non-regulatory manner.  

SUPPORT MODERNIZING THE PITTMAN-ROBERTSON FUND FOR TOMORROW’S NEEDS ACT

Another very important bill has been reintroduced in the 116th Congress-the Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow’s Needs Act. The Pittman-Robertson Act directs excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment to be used for wildlife conservation purposes. Since its origin in 1937, this legislation has contributed nearly $11.5 billion to wildlife conservation. This legislation would provide funding to state wildlife agencies for the recruitment, retention, and reactivation of hunters and recreational shooters (R3) through educational programs.   

SUPPORT S.500, H.R. 1225: RESTORE OUR PARKS (AND PUBLIC LANDS) ACT

Maintaining roads, trails, campsites, parking lots, boat ramps, and other public lands infrastructure makes possible the millions of visits to hunt, fish, scout, hike, climb, and enjoy them. Since much recreation and most hunting and fishing occurs on non-Parks land, we recommend that the legislation also direct a small portion of the funding to maintain infrastructure at National Forests (10% of funds), National Wildlife Refuges (10%), and Bureau of Land Management lands (5%). These multiple use and wildlife-focused lands host more than 261 million visitors annually, in addition to the 331 million visitors to National Park sites. The maintenance backlog on all our public lands should be addressed simultaneously and equitably.

SUPPORT S.261, H.R. 925: NORTH AMERICAN WETLANDS CONSERVATION EXTENSION ACT

For the past thirty years, NAWCA has produced economic and environmental benefits, while conserving wetlands that support America’s fish and wildlife resources. More than 5,600 conservation partners from small landowners to large corporations have teamed up on 2,644 NAWCA projects to positively affect over 33.4 million acres of habitat. Through the history of the program, NAWCA projects have been implemented in all 50 states. In addition to protecting wildlife habitat, this program improves water quality and generates local revenue by increasing tourism through enhanced outdoor recreation opportunities. This program also creates on average, nearly 7,500 new jobs annually, generating more than $200 million in worker earnings each year.

OPPOSE H.R. 2245: THE CONSERVING ECOSYSTEMS BY CEASING THE IMPORTATION OF LARGE ANIMALS TROPHIES ACT

HSC was an original signer and has joined forces with 31 other conservation organizations to oppose this piece of legislation. This bill represents an ill-conceived attempt to substitute uninformed prejudices for the management strategies of the wildlife authorities successfully conserving the world’s largest populations of lions, elephants and other African species in their range countries. If implemented, H.R. 2245 would undermine some of the most effective strategies for conserving the world’s wildlife.  

OPPOSE H.R. 4804: TO AMEND THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT OF 1973 TO PROHIBIT THE TAKING OF ANY ENDANGERED OR THREATENED SPECIES OF FISH OR WILDLIFE IN THE UNITED STATES AND THE IMPORTATION OF ENDANGERED OR THREATENED SPECIES TROPHIES INTO THE UNITED STATES, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

Introduced by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA-33), another blanket-approach attempt to halt hunting based on emotion and not science. Rather than a consideration of scientific and statistical analysis of animals listed under the Endangered Species Act or conducting an evaluation of threatened species that may be eligible for removal from the list, uninformed legislators are attempting to disregard hunting as an effective method of conservation and wildlife management.

Houston Safari Club (HSC) is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization dedicated to legislative and policy initiatives that may affect the future of hunting. HSC supports initiatives that protect the tradition of hunting and hunters’ rights. We take an active role in efforts to effect policy, protocols and legislation. Our mission is to protect the rights of hunters and the hunting heritage through advocacy, policy and legislation. Houston Safari Club (HSC) is a non-profit organization, exempt from federal income tax, under section 501(c)(4) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. Payments to HSC are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. Please contact your tax advisor concerning deductibility of any payments as business deductions. HSC EIN: 76-0082197. HSC is an independent organization, is not affiliated with Safari Club International (SCI) or its affiliates and is not a chapter or affiliate of any other organization.


Houston Safari Club (HSC) is a non-profit organization, exempt from federal income tax, under section 501(c)(4) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. Payments to HSC are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. Please contact your tax advisor concerning deductibility of any payments as business deductions. HSC EIN: 76-0082197. HSC is an independent organization, is not affiliated with Safari Club International (SCI) or its affiliates and is not a chapter or affiliate of any other organization.