RECENT VOTES

Federal Land Management

On April 17, 2012, the House considered H.R. 4089: the Sportsmen's Heritage Act. Supporters of this bill argue that it is intended to increase access to public lands for the purposes of hunting, fishing and recreational shooting. However, over 75% of federal lands are already open for these purposes. H.R. 4089 centralizes the authority to close federal lands with the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service. Local land managers who are on the scene are much better equipped to assess conditions that could lead to wildfires or other dangers. They should have the ability to implement land closures in the interest of public safety instead of waiting for approval from Washington. H.R. 4089 also negatively impacts existing conservation law. For example, this bill overrides the Wilderness Act by allowing people who are hunting or fishing to use motorized vehicles in the wilderness. I think it's important to point out that this bill also includes a "deem and pass" provision relative to Rep. Ryan's budget. Essentially the provision deems the Ryan budget passed and made law if H.R. 4089 passes the House. I'm pretty sure we can all agree that this is not how a bill becomes a law. A few steps seem to be missing — like Senate passage and a signature by the President. I voted NO. H.R. 4089 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

235

2

0

4

DEMOCRAT

39

144

0

7

TOTAL

274

146

0

11

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

1