Omnibus public lands bill scheduled for vote

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The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is urging all motorcyclists to contact their U.S. representatives to vote "No" on H.R. 146, known as the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Acquisition Grant Program. This bill was formerly known as S. 22, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009. If passed, it will prohibit all motorized vehicle access on more than 2 million acres of public lands.

Congress' first attempt to pass this measure, S. 22, was defeated two weeks ago in the House. However, following this defeat, the Senate leadership, using a little known parliamentary procedure, brought H.R. 146 to the floor, inserted the language from S. 22, and passed the bill on March 19 by a vote of 77 to 20.

"AMA members stepped up and helped defeat this unfair measure the first time, and we can defeat it again," said AMA Vice President for Government Relations Ed Moreland. "All motorcyclists, all-terrain vehicle riders and anyone who favors open and fair government must deliver Congress a strong message: Do not attack our right to recreate responsibly on public land, and do not enact leglislation without open and balanced public debate."

H.R. 146 is now up for consideration in the House. It consists of a daunting collection of more than 160 pieces of legislation and more than 1,300 pages of text. Normally, this legislation would require a two-thirds majority to pass. However, the House Democratic leadership wants to consider H.R. 146 under regular order so the bill would pass with only a simple majority. For this bill to be considered under regular order, the House must first pass a rule.

To help preserve access to public lands, the AMA is encouraging its members to contact their representatives and urge them to vote "No" on the rule regarding H.R. 146 and also insist they vote "No" on the final passage of H.R. 146. Immediate action is critical to help keep more than 2 million acres of public land open to motorized recreation.

With such a short time frame for action, the best way to request that your representative vote "No" on H.R. 146 is to call. Visit the Issues Legislation section of the AMA's website at www.AmericanMotorcyclist.com to get the phone number for your representative. Enter your zip code in the "Find Your Officials" box and click on the name of your representative. If you would prefer to contact your representative with e-mail, you can also do that on the AMA's website. The government relations staff has provided a pre-written letter for your use.

"Every representative must know that responsible motorized recreationists want them to vote "No" on the rule and "No" on the final passage of H.R. 146," Moreland said. "Please call your representative and tell everyone you know to do the same."