The Michigan House Ways and Means Committee voted unanimously to support a package this week that would reinstate the youth fishing license in Michigan.
The youth fishing license, which was inadvertently repealed in 2016, is an optional $2 license aimed at encouraging responsible participation in fishing sports and raising awareness about conservation.
Current law does not require a fishing license for anyone under the age of 17.
As a result of the reversal of the optional youth license, Michigan lost federal Dingell-Johnson Act funding, a funding program that matches money from taxes placed on a variety of fishing equipment, including fishing licenses. To be eligible to receive money, states are required to pass laws dedicated to the conservation of fish and prohibited from using license fees for anything other than running the state fish department.
“Michigan has been losing out on federal funds to help us maintain our state’s waterways after the optional youth fishing license was mistakenly repealed,” said Rep. Julie Brixie (D-69-Meridian) in a statement. “We will get about five dollars back from the federal government for every one dollar we invest here for conservation efforts.”
Brixie said that a resident in her district brought the absent license to her attention.
According to a statement from the Michigan House Democrats, the legislation is supported by a variety of environmental and fishing organizations, including Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Fishermen’s Association, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Michigan Clean Water Action, Michigan Environmental Council, Michigan Charter Boat Association and Michigan Trout Unlimited.
“Nothing would be better than to know that this proposal will have a positive impact on our young people,” said Rep. Gary Howell (R-82-North Branch) in a statement. “I’m pleased to have worked in a bipartisan manner alongside Rep. Brixie on this legislation. We want to see our young people enjoy all Michigan has to offer.”
The bills now move the House floor for consideration.
Jordyn Pair is a reporter with Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Kid Fishing” by NPS.