OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 6654

AN ACT CONCERNING SPORTSMEN RELATED REVISIONS TO THE GENERAL STATUTES.

SUMMARY:

This bill:

1. requires the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to sell bear hunt lottery permits that allow permittees to participate in a lottery to receive a bear hunt license;

2. authorizes the DEEP commissioner to register hunting or fishing guide services;

3. requires the commissioner to issue a request for proposal (RFP) for operating food service facilities at state parks and forests and award the contract to the highest responsible bidder;

4. lowers the age requirement for obtaining a fishing license from over age 16 to age 16; and

5. changes certain hunting and fishing license fees, including reducing fees for 2014 by 50% for state residents under age 21.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

1 — BEAR HUNTING LOTTERY

The bill requires DEEP to sell bear hunt lottery permits for $10 each. Under the bill, a lottery permit allows a person to participate in a lottery for a bear hunting license. The license costs $200 and allows the licensee to hunt bear where and in a manner that the DEEP commissioner designates. The designated location must coincide with DEEP's deer management zones. (The commissioner has not designated a bear hunting season. Currently, it is illegal to hunt bear in Connecticut.)

2 — HUNTING OR FISHING GUIDES

The bill authorizes the commissioner to register hunting or fishing guide services. Individuals must apply to be registered and pay a $50 or $100 fee if they are an in-state guide or out-of-state guide, respectively. The bill authorizes the commissioner to adopt regulations concerning the administration of, and requirements for, guide services. (Current law does not regulate hunting or fishing guides in Connecticut.)

3 & 4 — CONCESSIONS AT STATE PARKS AND FORESTS

The bill requires the DEEP commissioner to issue a RFP for the operation of food service facilities at state parks and forests. He must award the contract to the highest responsible bidder.

By law, an authority in charge of state owned, operated, or leased property must give the Department of Rehabilitation Services a permit to run a food service facility or vendor stand there, when such a facility or stand would be desirable. The bill exempts from this requirement state parks and forests under DEEP's custody and control. The bill specifies that the Board of Education and Services for the Blind may bid on the food service facility contracts it authorizes.

5 — FISHING LICENSE AGE REQUIREMENT

Current law requires people over age 16 to obtain a license before they may fish legally. (People under this age may fish legally without a license.) The bill lowers the age requirement for a fishing license to age 16.

6 & 7 — HUNTING AND FISHING LICENSE FEES

The bill increases one resident combination hunting and fishing license fee and reduces two resident supersport combination license fees, as Table 1 shows.

Table 1: Resident Sportsman's License Fees

License

Current Law

The Bill

Combination (all-waters fishing and firearms hunting)

$38

$40

Firearms supersport (all-waters fishing, firearms hunting, deer on private land with shotgun or rifle, and wild turkey in spring on private land)

80

70

Firearms supersport (all-waters fishing, firearms hunting, migratory bird conservation stamp, and migratory bird harvest permit)

60

50

The bill reduces the 2014 fees by 50%, rounded to the next highest dollar, for any hunting, trapping, or sport fishing license issued to a resident who is age 16 or 17. It also reduces the 2014 permit, tag, or stamp fees by 50%, rounded to the next highest dollar, for taking waterfowl, salmon, pheasant, turkey, migratory game birds, deer, or small game by a resident who is under age 21.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Environment Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

19

Nay

9

(03/27/2013)