Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Sportsmen Kill California Coursing Ban

Grassroots action by the U. S. Sportsman's Alliance and California outdoorsmen has blocked a bill that threatened hunting dog competitors and field coursers. Assembly Bill 2110, which sought to outlaw open field coursing competitions, did not move out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee on May 25. The bill's sponsor, Assemblywoman, Loni Hancock, D-El Cerrito, failed to garner enough support among the committee members, which prevented the bill from reaching the Assembly floor. The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance (USSA) invested thousands of dollars on a series of mailings and e-mail alerts to sportsmen in key legislative districts. The USSA supporters were urged to turn the heat up on assembly members who had not committed to protecting sportsmen's interests by opposing AB 2110. The Masters of Foxhounds Association of America and the United Kennel Club also sent mailings to their California members in specific legislative districts, alerting them to the dangers of AB 2110. They were urged to call lawmakers and describe the bill's impact on sportsmen and it's financial impact on local law enforcement. "Stopping this bill in California shows just what kind of success sportsmen are capable of at the grassroots level, " said Rob Sexton, USSA vice president of government affairs. "Groups like the California Houndsmen for Conservation, North American Coursing Association, Southwest Coursing Club, Brynmair Irish Wolfhounds, San Joaquin Sighthounds, National Open Field Coursing Association, California Hawking Club, as well as the California Waterfowl Association were essential in stopping this dangerous bill." USSA board member Natasha Hunt of Coalinga, California was also critical in raising sportsmen's concerns about the bill among the legislature. She, along with lobbyist Bill Hemby, a former California law enforcement officer, raised awareness about the unnecessary strain enforcing the bill would have placed on the law enforcement community. "Sportsmen can be proud of their efforts in California, " commented Sexton. "Not only have they helped to preserve coursing, but they have helped slam the door on other
anti-hunting legislation that might have been brought up had AB 2110 passed."

Reprinted from the Sporting Dog Defense Coalition Quarterly Report, Summer 2006

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