Bipartisan legislation to restore federal funding for school archery and hunting programs was signed into law Oct. 6, reversing an earlier decision by the Department of Education to withhold the funds.
The Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act originated in the House in August after the Biden administration sought to block funding for hunter education and archery programs held in schools.
The Department of Education had reportedly determined that, under the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act passed last year, school hunting and archery classes could not receive federal funding.
The move was based on a provision in the act, which is an amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, that prohibits federal funds from the earlier law from going to programs that provide training in the use of a “dangerous weapon.”
The decision sparked concern among hunting and archery groups, and state wildlife agencies that work with schools to conduct the educational programs.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., joined legislators from both parties to introduce and pass the resolution.
“This is a victory for Pennsylvania, where hunting is one of our longest and proudest traditions,” Casey said. “I’m pushing back against the Biden administration’s misguided decision, and I’ll keep working to protect funding for this educational programming and preserve the commonwealth’s hunting culture.”
The law came as a relief to groups such as the National Archery in the Schools Program, which supports archery courses for 1.3 million students from nearly 9,000 schools across 49 states.
In Pennsylvania, 307 schools are enrolled in the archery program, with more than 100,000 students participating annually.
The organization thanked legislators for their rapid and bipartisan approval of the measure.
“We believe that this situation demonstrated just how deeply Americans care about the future of conservation and the preservation of the shooting sports for young people,” the group said.