TOPEKA (KSNT) – A bill that could bring change to hunting and fishing licenses for Kansas veterans is moving forward.
House Bill 2039 was first introduced to the Kansas Legislature on Jan. 17 and sent to the House Committee on Veterans and Military. Originally, this bill would have changed existing law regarding fishing and hunting licenses for veterans in several ways:
- The bill would have exempted veterans with service-connected disabilities of 50% or greater from obtaining annual hunting, fishing or combination hunt/fish licenses or lifetime licenses.
- It would prohibit the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks from charging such disabled veterans any fee.
- It would remove from existing law the half-priced discount on annual hunting, fishing or combination hunting/fishing licenses for those ages 65 to 74.
- Finally, it would require those ages 75 and older to get a hunting or fishing license by removing their statutory exemption.
The bill was initially opposed by groups like the KDWP and Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. However, this changed after the bill was amended on Feb. 9.
New language added to the bill would allow disabled veterans to be issued, free of charge, a permanent license to hunt and fish. The veteran would need to be classified as having a service-connected disability certified by the Kansas commission on veteran affairs office that is equal to or greater than 30%. This would change existing laws which allow the KDWP to offer free hunting and fishing licenses to disabled veterans with proof of at least 30% disability.