Senate votes to raise fishing and hunting license fees - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Senate votes to raise fishing and hunting license fees

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KTTC) -- A Minnesota Senate panel has voted to raise fishing and hunting license fees to avert potential deep cuts to the state's fisheries and wildlife programs.

This bill has the impact to affect hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans and the numbers are big. In fact a study by the DNR says 1.5 million licensed anglers and 600,000 licensed hunters help support Minnesota's economy.

If you're itching to drop a line you're not alone, but expect a price hike for a license. Fishing license will go from $17 to $22.

The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee Chair, Bill Ingebrigtsen, says some people may be opposed to the increase because gas is on the rise, but he says this is not a tax raise.

Ingebrigtsen says, "The atmosphere now is not the time to be raising taxes. Folks this is not a tax. If I fish, I pay. If I don't want to fish or hunt, my taxes don't go up."

More than five people spoke in favor of the bill, which would increase fishing and hunting licenses. The bill is proposing deer licenses increase from $26 to $30.

Garry Leaf, Executive Director of Sportsmen For Change says, "We're here in support of a hunting and fishing price increase. It's just part of what you have to do to participate in the outdoors."

Jeremy Miller, a State Representative from Winona says some of his constituents are not in favor of an increase, but he says fees have to increase, "It's something that we need to do, we haven't raised hunting and fishing licenses in the state since 2001. With everything that is going on aquatic invasive species, these fees will help fight those issues we're having in southeastern MN and across the entire state of Minnesota."

While adult fishing licenses will increase, several of the youth fees will decrease. Miller says they're trying to encourage youth to get involved in the outdoors.

This is just the Senate version of the bill, the House has yet to review it.

If any of the fee increases are made, the changes won't go into effect until next March.

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