LANSING — The House Ways and Means Committee voted unanimously in support of House Bill 5002 and House Bill 5003 today, a bipartisan package sponsored by state Reps. Julie Brixie (D-Meridian Township) and Gary Howell (R-North Branch).

The bipartisan legislation would reinstate the optional $2 youth fishing license in Michigan, which was inadvertently repealed in 2016. As a result, Michigan has lost federal Dingell-Johnson funding that states secure in part by issuing more fishing licenses.

“A resident in my district actually brought this issue to my attention,” Brixie said. “Michigan has been losing out on federal funds to help us maintain our state’s waterways after the optional youth fishing license was mistakenly repealed. We will get about 5 dollars back from the federal government for every 1 dollar we invest here for conservation efforts. I’m honored to be working with Rep. Howell to bring these federal dollars back to Michigan to protect our waters.”

Under current law, those under the age of 17 are not required to purchase a fishing license. Brixie and Howell’s legislation would re-establish a $2 optional license, encouraging responsible participation in fishing activities and instilling good conservation habits amongst Michigan’s younger outdoor enthusiasts.

“Nothing would be better than to know that this proposal will have a positive impact on our young people,” Howell said. “I’m pleased to have worked in a bipartisan manner alongside Rep. Brixie on this legislation. We want to see our young people enjoy all Michigan has to offer.”

Brixie and Howell’s legislation is supported by environmental and fishing organizations in Michigan, including: Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Fishermen’s Association, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Michigan Clean Water Action, Michigan Environmental Council, Michigan Charter Boat Association, and Michigan Trout Unlimited.

The bills were referred to the House Floor for consideration.