Members of the Iowa House have overwhelmingly voted for a bill that ultimately will increase the license fees for people who wish to legally hunt, fish and trap in Iowa.
“I’s exciting to see this bill come forward,” said Republican Representative Terry Baxter of Garner. “I’ve got to say some of my redneck hunting buddies are a little bit opposed to this, but every sportsmen’s group in Iowa has written me and they stand with this bill. It’s time to get some of these resources going. It’s been a long time since we had a fee increase.”
The bill, which passed on an 86-6 vote, gives officials in the Iowa Department of Natural Resources the authority to raise licensing fees for fishing, hunting and trapping. A yearly fishing license, for example, is currently $17. The money from hunting, fishing and trapping licenses is used for department efforts to improve habitat and other conservation efforts that boost hunting opportunities. Representative John Wills, a Republican from Spirit Lake, said the bill will be a boost to the state’s $800 million hunting, fishing and outdoors industries.
“I’ve gotten literally hundreds of emails, hundreds of postcards, hundreds of people asking me to raise these fees,” Wills said.
Representative Dave Jacoby, a Democrat from Coralville who voted for the bill, needled House Republicans who’ve taken a “no new taxes or fees” pledge.
“We’ve underfunded the DNR to such an extent that they need some income to keep our waters ready for fishing, our fields ready for hunting,” Jacoby said.
The bill now goes to the Iowa Senate for consideration.