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Lawmakers look to change fishing license expiration

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Lawmakers at the California State Capital are wanting to change the time fishing licenses are valid. Senate Bill 187 would get rid of the current format in exchange for a 12 month cycle based on the date of purchase.

The potential changes were great news for Randy Cravens who bought his license Tuesday so he could take his daughter Lexie to Shasta Lake and fish.

"I'm going to go more than 4 times and I figured after 4 times it's already paid for itself. But my honest opinion, I think they should go year to date," said Cravens.

Under the current rule, Cravens license expires December 31, 2016 even though he bought it in June. Several lawmakers want to change that, including Northstate Assemblymen James Gallagher and Senators Ted Gains and Jim Nielsen who co-authored the bill.

Justin Cross lived in Florida for a time and said the proposal was similar to what that state already has in place. He said, "I mean it would be the fair thing to do to give someone a full year worth of their license if they're paying upwards of $50 for it."

However, not everyone out on the lake agreed, including Dennis Shankles.

He said he receives a fishing license every year for Christmas and any avid fisherman would already follow the current expiration rules. "Everybody's got an excuse but this way right now you know exactly how it is for the whole year. So I like it the way it is," said Shankles.

According to lawmakers recreational fishing brings in more than $4.6 billion every year to California's economy but the number of licenses sold has dropped 55% since the 1980s. They believe that changing the license would help to reverse that trend.

Tyler Knight disagreed and said if people want to fish they are already buying a license. "If you want to fish, you want to get your license. If you don't want to get your license and you come out to fish then you're going to run that risk too. I just don't think it's that big of a deal. If you want it you'll get it," said Knight.

SB187 passed unanimously in the Senate on June 1 and is current in the Assembly. If approved and signed by the governor the changes would take effect by January 2020.

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