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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 15, 2019 03:31 PM
From: Senator Patrick J. Stefano
To: All Senate members
Subject: Legislation Allowing the Fish and Boat Commission to set its own License Fees
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce legislation that will amend Title 34 (Fish) of Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. Under this legislation, the Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) shall have the authority to establish the fees that it charges.

This legislation will include a five-year sunset provision, which allow the General Assembly the opportunity to review how this legislation is working. One year before the legislation’s sunset date, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee shall begin preparing a report that examines the effectiveness of allowing the Commission to set its own fee schedule. The report will review the amount of revenue received from license fees, and the number of licenses issues, since the legislation became law.

Currently, the Fish and Boat Commission’s fees are determined by legislation. As an independent agency that is not supported by the General Fund revenues, and relies on user fees to pay for almost everything it does, 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.

The PFBC is already subject to oversight by the General Assembly. Title 30 directs the PFBC to submit an annual report to Game and Fisheries committees of both chambers of the General Assembly. The members of the Commission are appointed by the Governor, and subject to confirmation by the Senate.

Given these safeguards, it’s time to give the PFBC the ability to set its own fees for various licenses. This flexibility will enable it to better respond to changes in both market conditions and its needs.

The bill also broadens the use of proceeds from the Lake Erie permit for projects that benefit public fishing, 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.

This legislation was formerly Senate Bill 30 from the 2017-18 Legislative Session and was co-sponsored by Senators Eichelberger, Brewster, Bartolotta, Blake, Rafferty, Sabatina, Scavello, Schwank, and Vulakovich.

I sincerely hope that you will consider joining me in co-sponsoring this legislation. If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact Jake Gery in my office at jgery@pasen.gov.

Introduced as SB553