In 2016, we gathered a supermajority of co-‐sponsors to Rep. Bingham’s Conservation Bank reauthorization bill, H.4945, which mirrored Senator Campsen’s bill (S.519). These companion bills would have eliminated the sunset provision, improved the death clause, and increased funding by $0.05 per deed stamp recording fee (as recommended by the Wetlands Task Force). Neither of the reauthorization bills received a hearing, but we expect that they will be re-‐ introduced in the 2017-‐2018 session. We will need a strong grassroots campaign to pass them before the Bank authorization expires in 2018.
With H.5001, the 2016 Budget Conference Committee (Senators Leatherman, Davis, and Sheheen; plus Representatives White, Hosey, and Herbkersman) settled on a $15M funding level for the Conservation Bank for FY 2016-‐2017, a compromise between the House-‐authorization of$10M and the Senate’s $20M. The Conference agreement, however, included two Senate-‐sponsored budget provisos that designated $3M from the Bank to DNR for matching federal funds for wildlife habitat restoration and wetlands conservation. The Conservation Bank will have a net of $12M available for awards in the upcoming fiscal year. The budget bill passed in the House 96-‐3 and 40-‐2 in the Senate.
Status: Bill Failed, Budget Passed