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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: February 19, 2019 10:25 AM
From: Representative Thomas L. Mehaffie, III
To: All House members
Subject: Authority to Establish Fees -- Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

In the near future, I plan to reintroduce legislation to authorize the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) to establish the fees charged by the agency. This legislation is identical to HB 554 (Wheeland) from last session, as well as SB 30 (Eichelberger).

Currently, the PFBC’s fees are established by legislation. As an independent administrative agency that is not supported by General Fund revenues and relies on user fees to pay for all the services the Commission offers, the PFBC has a vested business interest in setting a fee structure that generates sufficient revenues to sustain its work on behalf of anglers, boaters, and aquatic resources while having the least possible negative impact on participation and sales.

Under my proposed legislation, fees would be established by regulation, offer the opportunity for public comment, and be considered by the Board of Commissioners at two separate public meetings. The General Assembly would retain the ability to disapprove any fee change by concurrent resolution. The bill also includes a three-year sunset provision, allowing the General Assembly to evaluate this new approach before extending the authority to the PFBC for additional years.

The Fish and Boat Code (Title 30) directs the PFBC to submit an annual report to the House and Senate Game and Fisheries and Appropriations Committees each year, and also requires the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct a performance audit of the PFBC every three years. Further, members of the Commission are subject to Senate confirmation. I believe that these checks and balances, coupled with the required public comment and legislative review, provide the General Assembly with the opportunity to ensure the responsible implementation of this authority.

The bill also removes the word “salmon” from the trout/salmon permit since the agency no longer stocks salmon, and makes minor technical amendments to ensure consistency throughout Title 30.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation to give the commission the flexibility to better serve Pennsylvania’s millions of anglers.

Introduced as HB808