Legislators look to expand the scope of fishing license bill

Fate of Assembly Bill 1387 will be determined in 2020 as Sacramento will hash out details of 365-day license proposal.

SACRAMENTO—Legislative efforts to reform California’s fishing licensing system from a calendar-based scheme to 365-day classification won’t be finalized until 2020, at the earliest, according to the author of the bill and the California Sportfishing League (CSL).

Assembly member Jim Wood, D-Santa Rosa, will continue to work with his colleagues in Sacramento to get his 365-day fishing license proposal passed and signed into law – but nothing will happen this year. The proposal – Assembly Bill 1387 (AB 1387) – will be refined and (possibly) voted on in 2020, the second year of the current two-year legislative cycle.

Wood’s proposal also includes an auto-renewal provision, according to the most recent legislative analysis out of the Assembly.

“This bill requires the [Department of Fish and Wildlife], beginning on January 1, 2021, to issue sport fishing licenses that expire 12 consecutive months after the date specified on the license at 130 percent of the cost of a calendar-year license. This bill requires the [Department of Fish and Wildlife] to offer an autorenewal option for 12-month license purchasers at the same cost as a calendar-year license.”

A statement issued by CSL – and confirmed in a conversation with its executive director, Marko Mlikotin – said AB 1387 would be expanded so it could be aligned with California’s Recruit, Retain and Reactive (R3) Action Plan.

Mlikotin added the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is committed to the R3 program – the commitment could help AB 1387 make it out of the legislature next year.

“The California Department of Fish and Wildlife … has shown its commitment to California’s R3 process with the release of its R3 Action Plan this past February,” a statement released by CSL said. “Currently, CDFW and California hunting and recreational fishing stakeholders are working closely together on the next steps identified in the plan, including developing proposals for new policies and marketing practices that aim to reverse declining fishing and hunting participation rates and to increase social support of these activities.”

Wood, who took the torch from State Sen. Tom Berryhill to change California’s fishing licensing system from a rigid calendar system to a more flexible 365-day plan, said he will work with CDFW and the governor’s office to ensure AB 1387 is passed and signed before the end of the 2019-2020 legislative session. Changing the state’s fishing license regime to the more flexible 365-day plan, according to Wood, would help bring more anglers to California’s waterways.

“There is broad-based consensus that California’s hunting and fishing licenses are too costly and have lost some appeal to the outdoor sporting community,” Wood said in a released statement. “I look forward to working with CDFW and Governor Newsom’s administration to improve Assembly Bill 1387 in order to accomplish the goals identified in California’s R3 Action Plan and help increase hunting and fishing participation rates.”

Pushing AB 1387 to 2020, according to Mlikotin, would actually strengthen the proposal to change California’s fishing license scheme.

“California is on the cusp of improving the state’s license program,” Mlikotin said. “Innovative ideas will not only benefit California hunters and anglers, but conservation and wildlife programs that are funded by license sales.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *