Freshman Soldotna Republican Rep. Ron Gillham has introduced a bill to broaden eligibility for free hunting and sport fishing licenses to more veterans and members of the military.
The state already offers complimentary hunting and fishing licenses for Alaska residents actively serving in the Alaska National Guard and U.S. military reserves, as well as veterans who are at least “50 percent disabled.” Non-residents who are stationed in Alaska also get discounted rates for those licenses.
Gillham’s bill would open up the free licenses to all resident veterans and all resident active duty military members, not just those who are in the reserves. Eligibility for the licenses would be attached to eligibility for the Permanent Fund Dividend.
Resident sport fish licenses currently cost $20. Hunting licenses are $35.
In his sponsor statement, Gillham says he sees it as a way to honor and thank service members. This is the first bill Gillham has put forth in the Legislature.
The bill has been referred to the House Special Committee on Fisheries and the Resources Committee. Should it pass, Gillham’s program would go into effect next year.