On June 24, House Bill 808 (HB 808), legislation that would grant the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) the regulatory authority to set license, permit, and tag fees, received an affirmative concurrence vote (157-44-1) in the House of Representatives. HB 808 is co-sponsored by numerous members of the bipartisan Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, and will be transmitted to Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Governor Tom Wolf following the successful result of last Wednesday’s vote. Just a day prior, on June 23, the Senate voted with strong bipartisan support (44-5) on the slightly amended version of the bill.
The price of fishing licenses in Pennsylvania has not increased in about two decades, thus the current prices are lagging behind inflation. Should Governor Wolf pen his name to this bill, the PFBC will have the authority to implement smaller, more regular increases as needed, rather than going to the legislature and asking its permission to raise prices. The latter often results in a larger jump in price that negatively impacts angler participation.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has been advocating for the passage of this provision for several years, and most recently was party to a sign-on letter to Senate leadership, encouraging swift action on the bill before the legislature goes into summer recess. CSF will continue to remain actively engaged with the Governor’s office, PFBC, and Caucus members towards seeing HB 808 signed into law, and towards advancing similar authority for the Pennsylvania Game Commission in the years ahead. Additional details on the status of this bill will be provided as they become available.