Kortz: Bill to provide therapeutic fishing license exemption passes committee

HARRISBURG, March 12 – A bill to allow the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to issue therapeutic exemptions to fishing license requirements unanimously passed the House Game and Fisheries Committee, state Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, announced today.

Kortz, who is minority chairman of the committee and the prime sponsor of H.B. 584, said it would provide the necessary language to allow the PFBC to award fishing license exemptions to therapy groups, including veterans groups and cancer support organizations. Kortz said that in 2018, participants in over 60 different service organizations and hundreds of one-day fishing events across Pennsylvania would have qualified for such an exemption, if it had existed.

 

“Fishing has been a beneficial therapeutic activity used by health care professionals for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder, who are healing from cancer or a chronic disease, or who are recovering from depression, addiction, or traumatic brain injury,” said Kortz. “It brings a smile to their faces and allows them to experience the joy of being outdoors and taking part in such a pleasurable activity.”

 

Mike Nerozzi, PFBC director of policy and planning, said, “Today was an important first step toward helping a lot of people heal, both emotionally and physically. This bill reinforces an initiative that the commission has previously committed to and would ensure the tremendous value of therapeutic fishing is recognized in law. We thank Chairman Kortz and the committee for their support and look forward to continued progress in the General Assembly.”

The bill now heads to the full House for further consideration.