Huffman to start MSA town halls this weekend in California

Published on
October 4, 2019

One of the top Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives will begin a series of roundtable discussions this weekend to help him prepare a bill that would reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman (D-California) will hold the first roundtable on Saturday, 5 October, in Arcata, California. Two days later, he’ll hold a similar session in San Francisco. The events are free and open to the public, though registration is required.

As the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee’s Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee, Huffman is expected to play a pivotal role in designing an MSA reauthorization bill and shepherding it through the House.

The California sessions are the first two discussions Huffman will hold in a series he first announced back in July. While there’s no set number of roundtables scheduled, the lawmaker has said he would meet with people across the country.

In his position, Huffman has said he wants the process of creating bills related to natural resources, including fisheries management, to be more transparent and based on science.

“This public process will inform and improve future marine policy to meet the challenges our oceans and fisheries face in the 21st century, such as climate change, the need to utilize advances in science and technology, to support coastal economies, and to protect ocean and fishery resources to keep faith with future generations,” Huffman said in a statement.

The congressman has said he plans to introduce his reauthorization bill sometime in the Spring of 2020.

Congress last passed an MSA reauthorization act in 2006. A reauthorization bill passed the House last year, but the Senate failed to act on it, which meant the process needed to be reset with the current Congress.

Huffman isn’t the only lawmaker with plans for an MSA reauthorization. Around the same time the California Democrat announced his roundtable tour, U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) announced he and U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-New Jersey) filed the “Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act.” U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, another New Jersey Democrat, also has signed on as a sponsor.

Young, the longest-tenured member of the current Congress, played a key role in writing the milestone legislation and helping pass the fisheries management law that was enacted 43 years ago.

Young’s bill has been referred to Huffman’s subcommittee. No hearings have been scheduled for it.  

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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