Illinois House committee approves bill to waive fees for hunting, fishing licenses for seniors
By Jim Hagerty
Some Illinois senior citizens may soon be able to hunt and fish in the state without purchasing a license.
Under House Bill 4329, Illinois residents 75 and older would not be charged for a fishing or hunting license. The bill was approved by the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee this week.
Currently, annual fishing licenses are $15. Standard hunting licenses are $12.50. Residents older than 65 now pay half-price.
While the bill has significant support in the House, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) says the measure could cost the department a minimum of around a quarter-million dollars a year and eliminate at least two jobs.
“It will be about a $260,000 loss of revenue,” IDNR spokesman Mark Stevens said. “A loss in revenue to the Fish and Wildlife Fund would be a loss in headcount. It’s not like we can just take this money and absorb it somewhere else. These are people’s salaries.”
The bill was sponsored by state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, who said fixed-income seniors are having difficulty sparing the cost for the permits.
Franks said, “With the cost of groceries and medical care and everything else going up, even a relatively small expenditure like a fishing permit can be prohibitive.”
The House committee approved the bill 11-2. It now heads to the full House for further discussion.
Posted March 21, 2014