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Senator Casey’s Bipartisan Bill Expands School Archery and Hunter Safety Programs

Bob Casey

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has announced the successful passage of his bipartisan bill aimed at reversing the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) guidance, which had previously prohibited the use of specific federal education funding for archery, hunting, and gun safety education classes, as well as extra-curricular programs in schools. The ED’s interpretation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BCSA) had effectively prevented schools from utilizing certain federal funding to offer hunter safety education and archery classes nationwide.

Senator Casey, highlighting the importance of this development for Pennsylvania, a state with a rich hunting tradition, emphasized the significance of school archery and hunting education programs in preserving family traditions of hunting various game, including white-tailed deer and wild turkeys, from one generation to the next. He expressed his commitment to challenging the Biden Administration’s interpretation of the law and pledged to continue efforts to safeguard funding for these educational programs while preserving the state’s hunting culture.

Senator Casey collaborated with U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-MT), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to introduce this bill, which received overwhelming support in the U.S. House of Representatives with a 424-1 vote. The legislation will now advance to President Biden’s desk for final approval.

Recent actions undertaken by Senator Casey and a bipartisan group of colleagues included urging the ED to revise its guidance and requesting Senate Appropriators to incorporate language permitting hunting education in the Fiscal Year 2024 spending bill.

Notably, Senator Casey and fellow senators passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act last June, a piece of common-sense gun safety legislation designed to enhance the safety of American schools, increase mental health support, and reduce the threat of violence nationwide. The Department of Education had interpreted a portion of this legislation in a manner that prohibited schools from using federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) funding to offer hunter safety education and archery classes.

Senator Casey has consistently advocated for the Department of Education to reverse its guidance on this matter. Furthermore, he has pressed the Senate Appropriations Committee to include provisions in the FY 2024 spending bill that would permit funding for these valuable educational programs.

Numerous senators, including Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), John Cornyn (R-TX), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Roger Wicker (R-MS), have joined Senator Casey in signing a letter to both ED Secretary Miguel Cardona and Senate Appropriations Committee leadership, urging necessary changes and funding allowances for these vital educational programs.

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