Critical Legislation for Journalists Who Film on Public Lands and Sportsmen
More than 34 million American sportsmen and women, representing all political parties and walks of life, understand the importance of supporting legislation that furthers wildlife management, the heritage of the traditional outdoor sports, and access to public lands.
One such bill is the Sportsmen’s Act (S. 1335) introduced July 18, 2013, by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). S. 1335 is critical to recreational fishing, hunting, and shooting on Federal public lands—just as sportsmen and women are important to the U.S. economy. In 2011, they spent $90 billion. That’s more than the global sales of Apple’s iPhone® and iPad® during the same year.1
“The measures included in the Sportsmen’s Act are meant to depoliticize this process and win the broadest possible support,” said Sen. Murkowski. “I worked closely with my colleagues in both the Senate and the House to find the right combination of proposals to thread the needle and to win approval in both chambers.”
In addition to addressing sportsmen’s issues, the bill also offers a solution to increasing challenges faced by journalists, such as the assessment of exorbitant fees to access Federal public lands for filming, difficult requirements to garner permission to film on Federal public lands, and/or outright denial of access to Federal public lands for journalistic purposes.
“In addition to being important to millions of American sportsmen and women, the bill is critical to the members of the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) and other journalists who cover, photograph or film fishing, hunting, wildlife conservation, public-lands issues or other activities enjoyed on Federal public lands,” said POMA CEO Laurie Lee Dovey.
“For eight years, POMA worked diligently to see the current filming-on-public-lands law better defined and an annual permit established for individual journalists and small film crews. The Sportsmen’s Act includes the solution POMA members recommended and support.”
Passed in 2000, the current law often was applied inequitably and beyond the original intent of the legislation. The law was meant to address challenges presented by large Hollywood production companies that wished to film movies on public lands. The law set forth guidelines and usage fees for those massive movie productions, which often interrupted the publics’ access to and enjoyment of Federal public lands and/or caused damage to the land/facilities.
However, the law was grossly misconstrued and used to restrict or outright deny individual journalists or small film crews access to public lands¾individuals and crews that would not cause an interruption of the public’s use of the land and resources or cause damage.
“The Sportsmen’s Act grants small film/photography crews, of five people or less, access to Federal public lands through an equitable permit process and reasonable annual fee,” Dovey added. “It’s an excellent solution for all parties.”
Other provisions in the package, include:
- The Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act, which protects the public’s right to engage in recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting on Federal land.
- The Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act, which enables the Secretary of the Interior to authorize any state to issue electronic duck stamps.
- The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act, which excludes ammunition and fishing tackle from the Toxic Substances Control Act and leaves decisions about tackle to state fish and game agencies and the USFWS.
- Bows transported through National Parks, which allows bows to be transported across National Park lands. Currently, firearms can be legally transported, but not bows.
A full list of the measures in the Sportsmen’s Act is available on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s website (http://1.usa.gov/12L5qBr), as is the full text of the bill (http://1.usa.gov/13QZ3iN).
1 Source: America’s Sporting Heritage – Fueling America’s Economy, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
Download high-resolution image of Sen. Murkowski
For additional information, contact:
Robert Dillon, Sen. Murkowski’s Office
Laurie Lee Dovey, Professional Outdoor Media Association
S. 1335 sets forth an annual permit for film crews of five people or less to film on Federal public lands, for a set annual fee. It eliminates the problem of unequal enforcement of existing laws on different Federal public land units.
Media Filming on Public Lands Permit Language
SEC. 402. ANNUAL PERMIT AND FEE FOR FILM CREWS OF 5 PERSONS OR FEWER.
(a) PURPOSE.—The purpose of this section is to provide commercial film crews of 5 persons or fewer access to film in areas designated for public use during public hours on Federal land and waterways.
(b) ‘‘(4) SPECIAL RULES FOR FILM CREWS OF 5 PERSONS OR FEWER.—
a. DEFINITION OF FILM CREW.—In this paragraph, the term ‘film crew’ means any persons present on Federal land or waterways under the jurisdiction of the Secretary who are associated with the production of a film.
b. REQUIRED PERMIT AND FEE.—For any film crew of 5 persons or fewer, the Secretary shall require a permit and assess an annual fee of $200 for commercial filming activities or similar projects on Federal land and waterways administered by the Secretary.
c. COMMERCIAL FILMING ACTIVITIES.— A permit issued under subparagraph (B) shall be valid for commercial filming activities or similar projects that occur in areas designated for public use during public hours on all Federal land and waterways administered by the Secretary for a 1-year period beginning on the date of issuance of the permit.
d. NO ADDITIONAL FEES.—For persons holding a permit issued under this paragraph, during the effective period of the permit, the Secretary shall not assess any fees in addition to the fee assessed under subparagraph (B).
e. USE OF CAMERAS.—The Secretary shall not prohibit, as a mechanized apparatus or under any other purposes, use of cameras or related equipment used for the purpose of commercial filming activities or similar projects in accordance with this paragraph on Federal land and waterways administered by the Secretary.
f. NOTIFICATION REQUIRED.—A film crew of 5 persons or fewer subject to a permit issued under this paragraph shall notify the applicable land management agency with jurisdiction over the Federal land at least 48 hours before entering the Federal land.
g. DENIAL OF ACCESS.—The head of the applicable land management agency may deny access to a film crew under this paragraph if—
i. there is a likelihood of resource damage that cannot be mitigated;
ii. there would be an unreasonable disruption of the use and enjoyment of the site by the public;
iii. the activity poses health or safety risks to the public; or
iv. the filming includes the use of models or props that are not part of the natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities of the Federal land.
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