WASHINGTON, DC (July 17, 2000) -- A blatant assault on
freedom of speech is on the verge of being enacted by the U.S. Congress,
hidden in a bill dealing with financial management issues in the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).
On Wednesday, July 19, the Subcommittee on Fisheries,
Wildlife, and Drinking Water of the Senate Committee on the Environment
and Public Works will hold hearings on S. 2609, "The Wildlife and Sport
Fish Restoration Programs Improvement Act of 2000." One little-noted
provision of this bill bars any organization that opposes or encourages
opposition to "the regulated hunting or trapping of wildlife" from
receiving a grant under one of FWS' most widely used programs.
Heidi Prescott, national director of The Fund for
Animals, said, "This bill would deny a federal benefit solely on the
basis of the applicant's exercise of first amendment rights. It's a
threat to our most fundamental freedoms."
Christine Wolf, director of government and international
affairs for The Fund for Animals, added, "It's not just the right to
oppose sport hunting and fur trapping that's at stake here. It's the
right of all Americans to speak out on any political issue without
having the enormous coercive power of the federal government turned on
Founded in 1967 by author and social critic Cleveland
Amory, The Fund for Animals is one of the nation's largest and most
active animal protection organizations. The Fund has applied for grants
from the FWS, and has been rejected because its proposals were "not
consistent with the mission or the intent of the Federal Aid in Wildlife
The public interest law firm of Meyer and Glitzenstein
has analyzed S. 2609's companion bill, H.R. 3671, which passed the House
with similar language, and determined that it was clearly
unconstitutional. A copy of this constitutional analysis is available by
Source: Michael Markarian <email@example.com>
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Hunt or Can Hunt?
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