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115th Congress    }                                     {       Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session       }                                     {      115-969

======================================================================



 
  MIGRATORY BIRD FRAMEWORK AND HUNTING OPPORTUNITIES FOR VETERANS ACT

                                _______
                                

 September 25, 2018.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Bishop of Utah, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted 
                             the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 6013]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 6013) to amend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to 
establish January 31 of each year as the Federal closing date 
for duck hunting season and to establish special duck hunting 
days for youths, veterans, and active military personnel, and 
for other purposes, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the bill 
as amended do pass.
    The amendments are as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Migratory Bird Framework and Hunting 
Opportunities for Veterans Act''.

SEC. 2. FEDERAL CLOSING DATE FOR HUNTING OF DUCKS, MERGANSERS, AND 
                    COOTS.

  Section 3 of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 704) is amended 
by adding at the end the following:
  ``(c) Federal Framework Closing Date for Hunting of Ducks, 
Mergansers, and Coots.--
          ``(1) In general.--In promulgating regulations under 
        subsection (a) relating to the Federal framework for outside 
        dates within which the States may select seasons for migratory 
        bird hunting, except as provided in paragraph (2), the 
        Secretary shall, with respect to the hunting season for ducks, 
        mergansers, and coots--
                  ``(A) adopt the recommendation of each respective 
                flyway council (as defined in section 20.152 of title 
                50, Code of Federal Regulations) for the Federal 
                framework, but the framework closing date shall be 
                January 31 of each year; and
                  ``(B) allow the States to establish the closing date 
                for the hunting season in accordance with the Federal 
                framework.
          ``(2) Special duck hunting days for youths, veterans, and 
        active military personnel.--
                  ``(A) In general.--Notwithstanding the closing date 
                under paragraph (1) and subject to subparagraphs (B) 
                and (C), the Secretary shall allow States to select 2 
                days for youths and 2 days for veterans (as defined in 
                section 101 of title 38, United States Code), and 
                members of the Armed Forces on active duty, including 
                members of the National Guard and Reserves on active 
                duty (other than for training), to hunt ducks, 
                mergansers, and coots. Such days shall be treated as an 
                addition to the regular hunting season lengths selected 
                by the States.
                  ``(B) Requirements.--In selecting days under 
                subparagraph (A), a State shall ensure that--
                          ``(i) the days selected--
                                  ``(I) do not fall within the regular 
                                hunting season for ducks, mergansers, 
                                and coots;
                                  ``(II) with regard to youth days, are 
                                on a weekend, holiday or other day in 
                                which schools are not in session; and
                                  ``(III) are not more than 14 days 
                                before or after the hunting season for 
                                duck, mergansers, and coots; and
                          ``(ii) the total number of days in a hunting 
                        season for ducks, mergansers and coots, 
                        including any days selected under subparagraph 
                        (A), is not more than 107 days.
                  ``(C) Limitation.--A State may combine the 2 days 
                allowed for youths with the 2 days allowed for veterans 
                and members of the Armed Forces on active duty under 
                subparagraph (A), but in no circumstance may a State 
                have more than a total of 4 additional days added to 
                its regular hunting season for any purpose.
          ``(3) Regulations.--The Secretary shall promulgate 
        regulations in accordance with this subsection for the Federal 
        framework for migratory bird hunting for the 2019-2020 hunting 
        season and each hunting season thereafter.''.

    Amend the title so as to read:
    A bill to amend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to establish 
January 31 of each year as the Federal framework closing date 
for the duck hunting season and to establish special duck 
hunting days for youths, veterans, and active military 
personnel, and for other purposes.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of H.R. 6013, as ordered reported, is to amend 
the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to establish January 31 of each 
year as the federal framework closing date for the duck hunting 
season and to establish special duck hunting days for youths, 
veterans, and active military personnel.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    The Secretary of the Interior is authorized to determine 
when duck hunting can take place in the United States under the 
Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.).\1\ That 
responsibility has been delegated to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (USFWS).\2\ Each year, USFWS issues proposed 
regulations establishing outside dates, season lengths, and bag 
limits.\3\ Following that announcement, the four North American 
Flyway Councils (Atlantic, Central, Mississippi and Pacific), 
which are comprised of representatives from each State within 
the flyway of migratory birds,\4\ submit comments and 
recommendations.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\16 U.S.C. 704.
    \2\50 C.F.R. 20.
    \3\50 C.F.R. 20.22.
    \4\The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners manage 
migratory birds based largely on routes the birds follow as they 
migrate between nesting and wintering areas.
    \5\Flyways, Greater Sage-Grouse  Species 
Information (2018), https://www.fws.gov/birds/
management/flyways.php.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Once the federal regulations are final, States set their 
own regulations within the overall framework set by USFWS. For 
example, in recent years federal regulations have provided that 
State wildlife agencies in all four flyways can allow the 
hunting of ducks ``between the Saturday nearest September 24 
and the last Sunday in January.''\6\ Federal regulations also 
set a maximum number of days that States can allow duck hunting 
within this timeframe.\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/02/02/2018-02112/
migratory-bird-hunting-proposed-frameworks-for-migratory-bird-hunting-
regulations.
    \7\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This bill establishes January 31 as the closing date for 
duck hunting instead of ``the last Sunday in January'' to 
provide greater certainty to States. This bill will not 
increase the number of days or bag limit--rather, it will 
provide a specific end date for States to work with when 
determining their individual hunting seasons. This will 
alleviate the confusion experienced when the last Sunday in 
January might fall on the 25th in some years and the 31st in 
other years.
    The bill also provides for additional duck hunting days for 
youths, veterans and active military personnel within the 
overall federal framework.

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 6013 was introduced on June 6, 2018, by Congressman 
Rob Bishop (R-UT). The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the Subcommittee 
on Federal Lands. On July 17, 2018, the Subcommittee held a 
hearing on the bill. On September 5, 2018, the Natural 
Resources Committee met to consider the bill. The Subcommittee 
was discharged by unanimous consent. Congressman Rob Bishop 
offered an amendment designated #1; it was adopted by voice 
vote. Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA) offered and withdrew an 
amendment designated #2. No additional amendments were offered, 
and the bill, as amended, was ordered favorably reported to the 
House of Representatives by voice vote.

            Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

      Compliance With House Rule XIII and Congressional Budget Act

    1. Cost of Legislation and the Congressional Budget Act. 
With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) and (3) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
sections 308(a) and 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974, the Committee has received the following estimate for the 
bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                Washington, DC, September 20, 2018.
Hon. Rob Bishop,
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 6013, the 
Migratory Bird Framework and Hunting Opportunities for Veterans 
Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Janani 
Shankaran.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 6013--Migratory Bird Framework and Hunting Opportunities for 
        Veterans Act

    H.R. 6013 would amend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to 
establish January 31 of each year as the federal closing date 
for duck hunting season. The bill also would direct the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), which issues annual duck 
hunting regulations, to allow states to establish special 
hunting days outside of the regular season for youth, veterans, 
and members of the armed forces.
    Using information from the USFWS, CBO estimates that 
implementing the bill would have no significant effect on 
spending subject to appropriation.
    Enacting H.R. 6013 could affect direct spending and 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. CBO 
expects that adding hunting days could increase the sales of 
federal duck stamps; those collections are recorded in the 
budget as revenues, deposited in the Migratory Bird 
Conservation Fund, and later spent without further 
appropriation action. CBO estimates that any additional 
revenues would not be significant in any year and would be 
offset by subsequent direct spending; thus, the net effect on 
the deficit would be negligible.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 6013 would not 
significantly increase net direct spending and would not 
increase on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-
year periods beginning in 2029.
    H.R. 6013 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Janani 
Shankaran (for spending) and Nathaniel Frentz (for revenues). 
The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill, as ordered reported, is to amend the 
Migratory Bird Treaty Act to establish January 31 of each year 
as the federal framework closing date for the duck hunting 
season and to establish special duck hunting days for youths, 
veterans, and active military personnel.

                           Earmark Statement

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    Compliance With Public Law 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                       Compliance With H. Res. 5

    Directed Rule Making. This bill contains one directed 
rulemaking in Section 2, which requires the Secretary of the 
Interior to promulgate regulations for the federal framework 
for migratory bird hunting for the 2019-2010 season and every 
season thereafter in accordance with this bill.
    Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not 
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government 
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was 
not included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 
or identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance published pursuant to the Federal Program 
Information Act (Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law 
98-169) as relating to other programs.

                Preemption of State, Local or Tribal Law

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italic and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

                       MIGRATORY BIRD TREATY ACT




           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
  Sec. 3. (a) That subject to the provisions and in order to 
carry out the purposes of the conventions, the Secretary of 
Agriculture is authorized and directed, from time to time, 
having due regard to the zones of temperature and to the 
distribution, abundance, economic value, breeding habits, and 
times and lines of migratory flight of such birds, to determine 
when, to what extent, if at all, and by what means, it is 
compatible with the terms of the conventions to allow hunting, 
taking, capture, killing, possession, sale, purchase, shipment, 
transportation, carriage, or export of any such bird, or any 
part, nest, or egg thereof, and to adopt suitable regulations 
permitting and governing the same, in accordance with such 
determinations, which regulations shall become effective when 
approved by the President.
  (b) It shall be unlawful for any person to--
          (1) take any migratory game bird by the aid of 
        baiting, or on or over any baited area, if the person 
        knows or reasonably should know that the area is a 
        baited area; or
          (2) place or direct the placement of bait on or 
        adjacent to an area for the purpose of causing, 
        inducing, or allowing any person to take or attempt to 
        take any migratory game bird by the aid of baiting on 
        or over the baited area.
  (c) Federal Framework Closing Date for Hunting of Ducks, 
Mergansers, and Coots.--
          (1) In general.--In promulgating regulations under 
        subsection (a) relating to the Federal framework for 
        outside dates within which the States may select 
        seasons for migratory bird hunting, except as provided 
        in paragraph (2), the Secretary shall, with respect to 
        the hunting season for ducks, mergansers, and coots--
                  (A) adopt the recommendation of each 
                respective flyway council (as defined in 
                section 20.152 of title 50, Code of Federal 
                Regulations) for the Federal framework, but the 
                framework closing date shall be January 31 of 
                each year; and
                  (B) allow the States to establish the closing 
                date for the hunting season in accordance with 
                the Federal framework.
          (2) Special duck hunting days for youths, veterans, 
        and active military personnel.--
                  (A) In general.--Notwithstanding the closing 
                date under paragraph (1) and subject to 
                subparagraphs (B) and (C), the Secretary shall 
                allow States to select 2 days for youths and 2 
                days for veterans (as defined in section 101 of 
                title 38, United States Code), and members of 
                the Armed Forces on active duty, including 
                members of the National Guard and Reserves on 
                active duty (other than for training), to hunt 
                ducks, mergansers, and coots. Such days shall 
                be treated as an addition to the regular 
                hunting season lengths selected by the States.
                  (B) Requirements.--In selecting days under 
                subparagraph (A), a State shall ensure that--
                          (i) the days selected--
                                  (I) do not fall within the 
                                regular hunting season for 
                                ducks, mergansers, and coots;
                                  (II) with regard to youth 
                                days, are on a weekend, holiday 
                                or other day in which schools 
                                are not in session; and
                                  (III) are not more than 14 
                                days before or after the 
                                hunting season for duck, 
                                mergansers, and coots; and
                          (ii) the total number of days in a 
                        hunting season for ducks, mergansers 
                        and coots, including any days selected 
                        under subparagraph (A), is not more 
                        than 107 days.
                  (C) Limitation.--A State may combine the 2 
                days allowed for youths with the 2 days allowed 
                for veterans and members of the Armed Forces on 
                active duty under subparagraph (A), but in no 
                circumstance may a State have more than a total 
                of 4 additional days added to its regular 
                hunting season for any purpose.
          (3) Regulations.--The Secretary shall promulgate 
        regulations in accordance with this subsection for the 
        Federal framework for migratory bird hunting for the 
        2019-2020 hunting season and each hunting season 
        thereafter.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

    Currently, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act gives the 
Secretary of the Interior the authority to determine when 
hunting of migratory game birds can take place in the United 
States, based on recommendations that have been adopted by the 
respective Flyway Councils. This bill would take away the 
authority of the Secretary of Interior to issue the final 
approval. While the Flyway Councils play a critical role in 
developing the regulations, establishing the framework for 
migratory bird management should remain a federal 
responsibility conducted in consultation with the Flyway 
Councils.
    In addition, season lengths and bag limits should be 
established by science and not Congressional mandates to ensure 
the long-term survival of the species for the ecosystem and 
future hunting opportunities.
    The Majority has made improvements to H.R. 6013. We intend 
to work with our colleagues in the Senate to address these 
remaining concerns.
                                   Raul M. Grijalva,
                                           Ranking Member, Committee on 
                                               Natural Resources.

                                  [all]