FRANKFORT ⎯ With the convening of the 2021 Kentucky General Assembly now less than one month away, it seems the weather and business in Frankfort are beginning to heat up. We will soon know our committee assignments and begin preparation for the first week, which will be a brief organizational session. Legislators will then recess and return to Frankfort the first week of February to resume the short, 30-day session.
As a past President, and Executive Council member, of the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses, which is under the umbrella of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), I recently attended the 17th Annual National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) Sportsman-Legislator Summit. Traditionally an in-person event, due to COVID-19, this year’s summit was held online. The theme was “2020: A Clear Vision for Enhanced Access, Opportunities, and #Responsible Recreation.”
The virtual event consisted of more than 200 bipartisan elected officials from all 50 states, more than 80 members of state fish and wildlife agency leadership from 36 states, governors’ offices from 7 states, and staff from both the U.S. Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture. We discussed key issues and concerns facing the sportsmen’s community in the year ahead. Among the many topics that were discussed were the 30×30 biodiversity movement and how hunters and anglers fit in; the Great American Outdoors Act; online hunter education; trapping as a wildlife management tool; increasing angler diversity through urban fishing centers; deficiencies in current poaching penalties and prosecutions; and much more.
I was proud to once again be appointed to the 2021 NASC Executive Council by my NASC colleagues. The bipartisan council assists heavily with policy development and sportsmen’s community engagement across states. It is imperative we highlight the role that hunting, angling, recreational shooting and trapping play in supporting conservation policies that also benefit our nation’s social and economic wellbeing. I look forward to the presentation of our Kentucky Sportsmen’s Caucus and our mission to our new legislative members and to identify those issues important to our mission.
With the prefiling deadline behind us, all proposed legislation for this upcoming session has now been submitted. You can view the 2021 prefiled bills at legislature.ky.gov. Many of these we will discuss in Committee meetings when the session begins in January. We have a lot of work ahead of this session, and I look forward to working across the aisle with my legislative colleagues to address the challenges facing our state.
As always, I will do my best to keep you updated and informed about what is happening in Frankfort. If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, I remain accessible by email at [email protected]. You can also leave a message for me on the Legislative Message Line at (800) 372-7181. Citizens with hearing impairments can use the Kentucky Relay Service at 711.