The hanging of a new calendar always brings with it a flurry of new legislative activity and a renewed sense of urgency in statehouses across the country. Some state legislatures only have a few short months in session to pass budgets, update and amend statutes and introduce and pass new legislation. As a result, things can and do change quickly at the state level, and we’ll need our members and supporters to act swiftly on Action Alerts and other engagement opportunities.
We engaged on policy and legislative issues in 35 states last year, and we’re hoping to increase that number this year. To do so, we rely on our members to pass along important state-based issues impacting deer and deer hunters. Please reach out to me anytime about policy or legislation – hopefully I can tell you that we’re already working on it, but if not, we’ll work together to rally support or opposition!
At the Federal level, Congress will undoubtedly start out a little slower than the states, but we still have plenty of conservation priorities moving forward into 2024. The *2023* Farm Bill, the North American Grasslands Conservation Act (NAGCA), the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) and the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act II (ACE II) are all still in play. However, significant action on these bills will need to happen in the first two quarters of the year, as quarters three and four will result in little action in a presidential election year. There’s always opportunity for action in a lame-duck session, but that’s no sure thing.
At the regulatory level, state and federal agencies are steadily at work year-round. That doesn’t mean they’re always efficient – just that the process is occurring. We’ll be commenting on state agency proposals and providing input to a number of federal agencies regarding forest management, energy development, chronic wasting disease (CWD) and innumerable other topics. Last year, we joined or authored over 100 letters providing comments and recommendations on behalf of deer and deer hunters.
2023 was a highly-successful year for NDA’s advocacy work – a testament to our dedicated members and supporters and the continued bipartisanship produced by conservation initiatives. Here’s to even better results in 2024!