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Barbin proposes free fishing licenses for those in recovery

Tribune-Democrat - 3/3/2017

March 03--State Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Johnstown, wants to exempt veterans and other individuals in physical or mental recovery from having to purchase fishing licenses for therapeutic angling programs that are sponsored by established service groups.

The 71st District's representative introduced the legislation on Wednesday.

"My measure, House Bill 675, would ease recovery efforts for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer, depression, addiction, physical and mental disabilities and other maladies," Barbin, Democratic chairman of the House Game and Fisheries Committee, said. "With the exemption, we can assist service organizations sponsoring what are typically one-day fishing events designed to provide therapy."

When talking about the benefits of fishing, Barbin said, "As many as 20 percent of all military veterans have injuries that might not be apparent to untrained eyes but need professional attention. A day fishing on a river, lake or stream -- unfettered by requiring a fishing license for one day of recreation and therapy -- can produce ample dividends for those who sacrificed so much for us."

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission supports Barbin's proposal.

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5056. Follow him on Twitter @Dave_Sutor.

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