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Heffley seeks change in fish and boat commissioner terms

Published February 25. 2013 05:03PM

Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) has introduced legislation to reduce the length of the term of service for the board of commissioners of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

"I believe this legislation will allow for added legislative oversight of this agency as the commissioners will be more accountable to the public through the appointment and confirmation process," said Heffley, a member of the House Game and Fisheries Committee.

Under current law, a Fish and Boat commissioner's term of service is eight years and a member who fills a vacancy of less than four years is eligible for reappointment. However, a member who serves a full eight-year term, or fills a vacancy for more than four years, is not eligible for reappointment for a period of eight years.

House Bill 798, if enacted, will establish a term of four years with the opportunity for additional terms through reappointment. Heffley's proposal would also remove limitations on service, allowing for multiple four-year terms of continuous service, and vacancies may still be filled for partial terms.

"It is important that we have the best qualified commissioners serving our Commonwealth," Heffley said. "We want to ensure commissioners will serve the best interest of the fishing and boating community while at the same time protecting the commonwealth's waterways.

"The number of fishing licenses sold annually in Pennsylvania has decreased sharply over the past decade while the cost of fishing licenses continues to rise," said Heffley, noting that annual trout stocking has been reduced from a high of 5.2 million trout stocked to 3.2 million. Fish and Boat Commission internal regulations have restricted stocking opportunities and have not taken local interests into consideration.

"Shorter terms will provide needed oversight and provide much-needed accountability to the general public while at the time fulfilling its mission to look after the boating and fishing interests of Pennsylvanians," Heffley added.

This legislation currently awaits consideration in the House Game and Fisheries Committee. Heffley's video comments during the commission's presentation of its annual report to the House Game and Fisheries Committee can also be found on his website at RepHeffley.com.

For more legislative information, visit Heffley's website or follow his legislative Facebook page at Facebook.com/RepHeffley.

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