Elk NetworkRMEF Members Help Trigger Nearly Unanimous Congressional School Funding Vote

General | September 28, 2023

During a time of gridlock with a possible government shutdown looming, the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate came together –nearly unanimously– to support hunting, archery, children and schools. Combined, the two chambers were just one vote shy of a unanimous vote to pass the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act, a bill restoring funding to schools that include archery and hunter education in their curriculums.

Why was this needed? Citing one line in the year-old Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) that restricts funds being used to provide “a dangerous weapon” or “training in the use of a dangerous weapon,” the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) blocked funding to schools with hunter education and the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP). Nearly 8,900 schools and 1.3 million students are involved in NASP.

Members of Congress who sponsored BSCA said DOE Director Miguel Cardona misinterpreted its intent. Beginning in August until late September, in conjunction with hunters and others in the outdoor industry, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation members acted by sending more than 2,000 messages to Cardona and more than 6,000 to their elected representatives, asking them to reverse course and restore funding. Lawmakers responded by crafting the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act.

The bill now sits on President Biden’s desk awaiting his signature to become law, although there is no definite word if or when that might happen.

With hunting heritage as a key part of its mission, RMEF contributed $1.8 million to nearly 800 school-based projects safely teaching shooting sports over the years, leveraging $5.7 million in partner matching funds. RMEF also invested heavily in NASP, contributing to 340 projects in 37 states, with a direct investment of $434,045 that leveraged $1,761,344 in partner dollars.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its more than 225,000 members call on President Biden to support our nation’s children and our hunting heritage by signing the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act into law.

(Photo source: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)