Fairfax, VA -- On the last day of the legislative session, the Florida Legislature overwhelmingly passed House Bill 1697, an omnibus highway safety package containing a provision to change how the Animal Friends license plate proceeds are distributed and used. This important pro-sportsmen measure was backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA), as well as the Unified Sportsmen of Florida and the Allied Sportsmen`s Associations of Florida.
In 2004, the Florida Legislature created the Animal Friends license plate. The fees from the plate were to be used for spaying, neutering and animal welfare programs in Florida. However, the funds were distributed to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a group who not only doesn’t have a spay and neuter program, but is vehemently opposed to hunting and sportsmen’s rights.
"Giving license tag funds to an organization that doesn`t even have a spay and neuter program is bad enough, but giving the money to one of the most anti-hunting, anti-sportsmen groups in the country is clearly a mistake," said Marion P. Hammer, NRA past president and Executive Director of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida.
Early this year, members of the Florida Legislators` Sportsmen`s Caucus, acting on the requests of the NRA, the Unified Sportsmen of Florida and the Allied Sportsmen`s Associations of Florida, placed amendments in several highway safety bills which limited the use of funds to spay and neutering programs only and removed the HSUS as the recipient of the funds.
"We are delighted to have those funds pulled from HSUS and designated exclusively for Florida spay and neuter programs as originally intended," Ms. Hammer added. "I want to extend my thanks to all of the legislators who supported this provision, as well as the Allied Sportsmen`s Associations of Florida and its executive director, Lane Stephens, for their strong voice and support on behalf of sportsmen."
This legislation is yet another pro-gun victory in Florida this year. Two weeks ago, Governor Jeb Bush signed Florida’s "Castle Doctrine" into law, allowing law-abiding citizens to legally defend themselves from criminal attack.
--nra--The National Rifle Association is the nation’s leader in protecting the right to hunt for all law-abiding Americans. Along with approximately 17 million American hunters and many national conservation organizations, NRA is working to preserve the American hunting tradition for future generations. Hunters and sportsmen play a pivotal role in America’s economy and society, and have been leaders in promoting wildlife management and conservation.