Harrisburg, March 19, 2024 – State Sen. Jim Brewster announced today that his bill, SB146, was passed unanimously by the House on third consideration. The legislation exempts veterans and others in recovery programs from fishing license fees.

This bill, which has garnered unanimous support in previous sessions, promotes mental and physical recovery through the therapeutic benefits of fishing and outdoor recreation. Under the provisions of SB146, individuals participating in therapeutic angling programs sponsored by established service groups, including Wounded Warriors and Project Healing Waters, will be eligible for an exemption from fishing fees. 

“Supporting veterans and individuals in therapeutic and recovery programs means providing more opportunities for healing,” said Senator Brewster. “This bill will do that by offering free fishing and promoting well-being through outdoor recreation.”

According to the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, this exemption will extend to over 60 different service organizations and hundreds of unique one-day fishing opportunity events across the Commonwealth.

Fishing provides time to connect with nature and has been recommended by health care professionals to aid those with a wide range of diagnoses, including mental and physical disabilities, cancer or other chronic diseases, recovery from addiction, traumatic brain injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder, Brewster said.

During the previous legislative session, SB146 was passed unanimously by the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee and received a resounding 50-0 vote during a full vote of the Senate. It also received unanimous support in the House Game & Fisheries Committee.

This overwhelming bi-partisan support demonstrates the recognition of the bill’s significance in promoting the well-being and rehabilitation of veterans and individuals in therapeutic programs.

The bill now heads to Governor Shapiro to sign.