Legislation sponsored by Representatives Gary Howell (R-North Branch) and Julie Brixie (D- Meridian Township) to reinstate the voluntary youth fishing license was unanimously approved Tuesday by the House Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Committee. The youth fishing license was inadvertently repealed several years ago when licenses and fees were updated.
“It would be wonderful to see the optional youth fishing license back,” Howell said. “Especially since over the years there has been a decline in the number of young people taking advantage of our state’s fishing and hunting opportunities. This plan will hopefully inspire our youth to get involved in the outdoor sporting community.”
Under current law, young people under the age of 17 are not required to carry a fishing license. This bipartisan measure will re-establish a $2 optional license for young outdoors enthusiasts, encouraging participation in fishing activities and instilling good conservation habits.
“Our youth deserve to have their own fishing licenses with their names on them,” Howell said. “This symbolic gesture will allow our outdoor traditions to carry on now and for future generations.”
The measure is supported by virtually every environmental and fishing organization in Michigan, including Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the Steelhead and Salmon Fishermen’s Association, the Sierra Club, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Michigan Environmental Council, the Charter Boat Association, and Trout Unlimited.
“A resident in my district actually brought this issue to my attention,” Brixie said. “Michigan has been losing out on federal funds to help us maintain our state’s waterways due to the optional youth fishing license being mistakenly repealed. I’m honored to be working with Rep. Howell to bring these federal dollars back to Michigan and protect our waters.”
The bills now advance to the Ways and Means Committee for further consideration.
“Nothing would be better than to know that this proposal will have a positive impact on our young people,” Howell said. “I’m pleased to have worked in a bipartisan manner alongside Rep. Brixie on this bill. We want to see our young people enjoy all Michigan has to offer.”
Representatives Gary Howell (R-North Branch), left, and Julie Brixie (D- Meridian Township) testify before the House Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Committee Dec. 3 about reinstating the voluntary youth fishing license.