Bills propose making fishing more accessible to veterans

SACRAMENTO — Two bills recently introduced on the legislative floor might not completely reverse dwindling sales of fishing licenses in California, but Senate Bill 1081 (SB 1081) and Assembly Bill 1844 (AB 1844) are certainly steps in the right direction.

State Sen. Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga) introduced SB 1081 to reduce the sportfishing and hunting license fee to $5 for honorably discharged California veterans. Fishing tags would be discounted by 50 percent, the bill also proposed. Veterans who are disabled would be granted licenses and fishing tags at no charge.

“In defending our nation, veterans have given up countless hours of time with family and loved ones,” Morrell said about SB 1081 in a released statement. “For those veterans who enjoy fishing and hunting in California, there should be fewer barriers in place to accessing these recreational sports, especially since they are often bonding activities for families. By reducing the overall price burden, we also give these individuals greater opportunity to take advantage of our state’s natural resources.”

AB 1844, introduced by Assembly member James Gallagher (R-Plumas Lake) proposes to reduce hunting and fishing licenses for honorably discharged California veterans by 25 percent. Discounts would also be applied to report cards and lifetime licenses.

Both bills were heard in front of committee on March 29; AB 1844 was before the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife while the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water considered SB 1081.

The California Sportfishing League sponsored both bills.

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