Written By Richard Heilbrun, TPWD
Richard Heilbrun, who is well known by TMN’s and is Program Leader at Texas Parks & Wildlife Department,has been actively involved with The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. We recently asked him about its progress since not much comes out of D.C. nowadays that is not related to COVID.
The Wildlife Act made substantial progress in 2020. The standalone bill, HR 3742, passed out of committee with bipartisan support. The text of that bill, slightly altered, was inserted into HR 2, which passed the US House on July 20 and was sent it to the US Senate. Though the Senate declined to consider HR 2, the passage of the language in the House was a huge milestone for the effort and shortens our work dramatically in this Congress.
In this year’s Congress, the House Committee on Natural Resources has told us that Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will not need a hearing and will just be advanced through Committee.
Strategists in DC are pushing for a 2-track approach. First, it will be introduced as stand-alone legislation by Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE). In March or April, we expect them to circulate a Dear Colleague Letter and a request for initial bill co-sponsors. When that happens, we’d encourage the wildlife community in Texas to contact their members of Congress. Then it will be introduced into the Senate. There are several Senators that have already contacted us offering to introduce the measure there. Once we’ve demonstrated support for the stand-alone measures, our second track will be to ask for it to be inserted into larger legislative packages such as an Infrastructure Package.
We’ll support both tracks, knowing that having 2 possibilities gives us a better chance of final passage. Many people have told us that if we can mobilize conservation-oriented support, Recovering America’s Wildlife Act has a good chance of being passed this year. We just have to keep our foot on the gas.
Sign up for updates at https://www.txwildlifealliance.org/ Learn more about the bill there and viewing the Texas Focus YouTube Video below.
Texas Focus Video