On Wednesday, October 24th, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed a new anti-poaching bill (H.B. 2293) into law. House Bill 2293, which takes effect immediately, increased the maximum fine that can be given to people caught illegally harvesting fish from $200 to $5,000 and increased the amount of time the Pennsylvania Fish and Boating Commission (PFBC) can suspend fishing and boating privileges from two years to five years. In addition to a $5,000 fine, the PFBC can now hit violators with the cost of replacing the fish that were harvested illegally.
H.B. 2293 also created a new section in the Pennsylvania’s Fish and Boat code called “serious unlawful take,” which changed the penalty for going over the legal daily limit of fish from a first degree summary offense to a second degree misdemeanor and increased the maximum amount of jail time that a violator can serve from 90 days to two years. Finally, the law increased the penalties for violators that fish with a suspended license from a summary offense of the first degree and a $200 fine to a third degree misdemeanor that warrants a $500 fine.
The primary sponsor of the bill was Representative Michael Peifer. Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen’s Co-Chairs Representative Marc Gergeley and Representative Keith Gillespie signed on as co-sponsors, along with numerous other Caucus members. The bill received strong bipartisan support and passed unanimously in both the House (194-0) and Senate (48-0) on October 15, 2012 and October 16, 2012 respectively.
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What do you support as a means to either complement or enhance the funding state fish and wildlife agencies receive through the American System of Conservation Funding? (To learn more about the options below, visit CSF's issue briefs)Vote Here
- Increase the price of hunting and fishing licenses, tags, permits or stamps (9.72%)
- Create new species-specific stamps (e.g. trout stamp) (4.17%)
- Implement a conservation stamp for non-consumptive users (e.g. hikers, bikers, birdwatchers, etc.) that use state-owned lands (31.94%)
- Adopt a Conservation Sales Tax at the state level on all taxable goods, with the funds allocated for conservation projects (13.89%)
- Adopt a Dedicated Sales Tax on Outdoor Goods (a state-level tax on outdoor goods similar to the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs) (20.83%)
- The creation of non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for state wildlife agencies (19.44%)