LANSING, MI – State Rep. Holly Hughes, R-White River Township has introduced legislation that would provide free fishing and hunting licenses to disabled Veterans in Michigan.
The committee on Natural Resources, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee voted unanimously to approve the bill and has sent it forward to the full House for consideration.
Currently, Veterans who are 100 percent disabled can purchase hunting and fishing licenses at a 60 percent discount. If HB 5292 is passed, these veterans would be able to obtain licenses free of charge. According to U.S. Census data from 2010, about 16,100 veterans living in Michigan were classified as 70 percent disabled or higher.
Based on the bill’s language, a “disabled veteran” refers to a resident who has been determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to be permanently and totally disabled as a result of military service or a resident rated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as individually unemployable.
Les Schneider, legislative chairman for the Michigan Department of Disabled American Veterans shared why the DAV is in favor of House Bill 5292 at the committee meeting Tuesday. “Our veterans go above and beyond for us and providing a way for them to enjoy Pure Michigan activities when they return home is a small token of appreciation,” Hughes said. “Disabled veterans have given so much for our country and our freedoms, and offering them free licenses to take part in these great pastimes helps us as a state show them how grateful we are for what they have sacrificed.”
“On behalf of all 100 percent disabled veterans, I thank the committee for voting this through, and especially thank Rep. Hughes for her hard work to get the bill here,” said Dave Eling, director of Muskegon County Veterans Affairs. “To us, this is a great ‘thank you’ from the state of Michigan.”
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