On March 19, the New England Chapter submitted written testimony to the House Environmental and Natural Resources Committee urging the rejection of Bill H5849, which would allow private shooting preserves to import and hunt deer, elk and other big game. Additionally, chapter leaders led a campaign that resulted in New England residents sending over 1000 letters opposing this bill to committee members through BHA’s action alert center.
Prior to the scheduled public hearing on the bill planned for March 21, the committee postponed hearing at the request of the bill sponsor, Rep. Stephen Ucci (D-Cranston/Johnston). This is not Rep. Ucci’s first attempt at passing this type of legislation; during the 2018 legislative session, he sponsored H8090, which failed to make it through the House Corporations Committee. The 2018 bill was also supported by Rep. Arthur Corvese (D-North Providence), who is not listed as a sponsor on the 2019 bill.
There is no companion bill yet in the Rhode Island Senate for this legislative session. Sen. Frank Lombardo (D-Johnston), who sponsored bill S2929 during the 2018 legislative session, revealed in a recent Providence Journal article that he would no longer be supporting this initiative because there was quite a bit of opposition from his constituents, many of whom are also represented in the House by Rep. Ucci.
While H5849 may be currently postponed and seems to be losing support in the Rhode Island General Assembly, it is still an active proposal and could be rescheduled for hearing later in 2019. The New England Chapter will continue to track this important issue and fight to protect our wildlife and fair chase traditions.
Join us in opposing this legislation through our action letter: