‘The price of the license has to go up,’ Possible changes to the hunting and fishing license fees

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HARRISBURG, Pa.-- The Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Fish and Boat Commission pleaded their cases to be in charge of the hunting license and fishing license fees. It has been more than a decade since either was raised, and both commissions say with inflation their costs have gone up but revenue has not gone up as quick to meet their needs.

"We know the way that we do it now drives down participation," Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director John Arway said.

He testified before the House Game and Fisheries Committee on Thursday. He is helping to push senate bill 1168 into action. The bill would allow the Fish and Boat Commission to regulate the fishing license fee.

"The price of the license has to go up," he said. "Otherwise, the goods and services that we provide has to go down."

Senator Pat Stefano is sponsoring senate bill 1166, which would allow for the Game Commission to regulate the hunter license fee.

"They have a hard time planning so they have to make giant jumps that are not favorable to the gaming industry as a whole," he said.

The current way a fee is increased is through legislation that has to pass through the state legislature.

House Game and Fisheries Committee Chairman Representative Keith Gillespie said it's time to fix this process.

As for the commissions both continuing to raise the fees, Stefano and Arway said it would end up hurting them more.

"They can't price themselves out of business," Sen. Stefano said.

"We want more people to fish so there's no way we would raise prices that the market couldn't bare," Arway said.

The state legislature would still have oversight over the committees as well to make sure everything goes well.

"They still would have to come before the committee once a year with an annual report," Rep. Gillespie said.

The bills also have a sunset provision, so after three years they would have to be reactivated through the legislative process.

Right now, both bills passed committee in the senate unanimously. They still have to go through the senate floor, the house committee, the house floor, and the governor before they can become law.