New Law Allows Free Fishing

Gregory Vellner

HARRISBURG, PA – Disabled veterans and former prisoners of war can fish for free in Pennsylvania, following unanimous action by the state Senate on a bill inspired by a severely injured police officer.

By a 49-0 vote, the Senate agreed to amend state law and include disabled veterans and former POWs to the free fishing license section that already includes disabled first-responders.

Prior to the vote, the bill’s prime sponsor, state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33), told fellow members, “first-responders are a lifeline in communities throughout Pennsylvania.”

“Even though there is nothing we can do that would adequately thank them for the valor they display on a daily basis, there are subtle measures the General Assembly can undertake to show its appreciation,” said in a memo to them. The new amendment to the bill adds veterans and disabled POWs.

The bill drafted by Mastriano was inspired by Officer Rick Phillips, who in 2010 was severely injured in the line of duty while in vehicular pursuit of a suspect, according to Mastriano, adding that since his injuries Phillips has become an active advocate on behalf of disabled police officers.

“Our first responders face grave danger s each time they respond to a call,” said Mastriano. “We are indebted to those who dedicate their lives and well-being to protect us. Every day we ask this of them. And every day they rise to the challenge and sacrifice. Offering them the opportunity to fish for free is a small but important gesture to honor their bravery and express our gratitude for their sacrifice.”

The bill allows disabled first-responders to qualify for a free fishing license by providing written verification from a doctor they are 100 percent disabled in the line of duty. The applicant must be a Pennsylvania resident.

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Go fish, says new PA law to disabled vets, former POWs.Unsplash

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As a professional journalist for several years -- reporter, editor, feature writer, columnist -- I handled a range of subjects. Breaking news, investigative series, government action, feature events, and staff feature writer with national entertainment magazine interviewing stars including Tom Selleck, Mel Brooks and Danny DeVito. No matter the topic, certain ingredients are key: truth, facts, objectivity, balance.

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