Merski, Kortz bills would lower hunting, fishing fees for frontline workers

Would offer $1 licenses for health care workers, emergency responders

HARRISBURG, May 14 – Pennsylvania’s health care workers and first responders would pay just $1 for one-year hunting and fishing licenses under legislation being introduced by state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, and state Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny.

The lawmakers said they will be introducing the bills as a way to thank these frontline workers for their lifesaving efforts and to encourage them to take advantage of the state’s abundant fish and game opportunities.

“Pennsylvania’s health care professionals and first responders have been there for us 24/7 throughout this pandemic, working tirelessly to save lives even when doing so puts their own lives at risk,” said Merski, who is a member of the House Game and Fisheries Committee. “Words are barely adequate to thank them, but we can give back in small ways. Offering reduced fees on hunting and fishing licenses is one way to do that while encouraging these frontline heroes to relax outdoors.”

Kortz, the Democratic chairman of the committee, agreed, saying “Our first responders and health care workers have and are working in extremely unprecedented times and dealing with enormous amounts of stress. Being able to offer them these reduced licenses will encourage them to spend time outdoors and relax. This is just one way we can show our appreciation and tremendous thanks for all they do to help save lives and keep us safe.”

The lawmakers said that both the Game Fund and the Fish and Boat Fund are operating with substantial reserves and are fiscally sound and able to afford the temporary new reduced licenses. By charging $1 for the licenses, both commissions will still qualify for the federal matching funds they receive for each license sold.
 
First responders are defined as law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, emergency service dispatchers, ambulance drivers, correction officers and others the commissions deem to respond to requests for emergency assistance.