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Friday, November 2, 2012

Gov. Corbett Signs Update to Fish and Boat Code

Gov. Corbett Signs Update to Fish and Boat Code
  HARRISBURG, Pa. – Gov. Tom Corbett has signed into law a package of updates to the Fish and Boat Code (Title 30 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes). The multi-faceted legislation will help improve the operations of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) and the services it provides to the anglers, boaters, and other residents and visitors of the Commonwealth.
The new law – known as Act 211 of 2012 – includes a series of technical and substantive amendments to Title 30, many of which have been under consideration for several years. Senator Richard Alloway (R-33rd District) sponsored the legislation and emphasized the value of considering the entire suite of amendments in one bill. 
“I was happy to work with the PFBC to take a comprehensive look at what improvements were necessary to clarify and modernize the language in the Fish and Boat Code,” said Sen. Alloway. Act 211 streamlines and updates Title 30 in ways that will enable the agency to more efficiently carry out its legislative mandates.”
The following represent some of the highlights of Act 211:
  • Creates consistency with the state Crimes Code allowing for charges to be brought against accomplices involved in violating the Fish and Boat Code.  This provision is complementary to Act 167 of 2012, which the Governor signed on Oct. 24.  Act 167 significantly increased the penalties for large-scale poaching operation, and Act 211 makes it clear that accomplices may also be charged for such crimes.
  • Defines the unauthorized operation and use of boats and defines duties of operators involved in boating accidents consistent with the Vehicle Code.
  • Eliminates the need to provide an affidavit to prove that someone had a fishing license. This is no longer necessary since the advent of the Pennsylvania Automated License system (PALS).
  • Simplifies the process for issuance of institutional licenses and allows for more facilities to have access to institutional licenses to provide fishing as a therapeutic opportunity.
  • Provides for an exemption for fishing licenses to participants in a structured education program involving fishing.
  • Increases the penalties for damage to PFBC property and for littering on private or public property open to fishing.
PFBC Executive Director John Arway expressed the agency’s gratitude and also kept an eye toward the future.
“We thank Senator Alloway, his colleagues in the General Assembly, and Gov. Corbett for taking a holistic approach to this legislation,” Director Arway said. “With these important improvements to the Fish and Boat Code in place, we will be turning our attention for the next legislative session to ways to help address increasingly urgent fiscal issues facing the PFBC.”
The new law will take effect in 60 days.

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