Alaska Legislature considers bills to create electronic hunting, fishing licenses

Each day, in airports across Alaska, thousands of people swipe their cellphones across a scanner and board an airplane. Instead of a paper boarding pass, a smartphone application carries their ticket.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is envisioning something similar for hunting and fishing licenses in the 49th state.

On Monday, the Alaska House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on House Bill 129. Included within HB 129 is a clause that states, “A license in actual possession may be in paper or electronic form.”

“The Department of Fish and Game wishes to create a situation where electronic licenses are allowed,” explained Maj. Bernard Chastain, deputy director of the Alaska Wildlife Troopers, in Monday’s hearing. “That could be on a phone or a device or something similar to that nature.”

The exact details of how the license would be carried and displayed have yet to be determined. It’s also unclear how king salmon stamps, duck stamps or other optional license accessories might be displayed.

HB 129 isn’t limited to electronic licenses: It has several other clauses that deal with a wide range of topics.

Rep. Dan Saddler, R-Eagle River, has filed a standalone bill that deals with the electronic licensing issue. House Bill 260 has been referred to the House’s fisheries, resources and finance committees but has not yet been heard.

“It’s simply to allow people to have a license and keep it with them more easily,” Saddler said in his office last week.

He said he got the idea after a discussion at the Kenai River Classic fishing tournament.

“It just came around in conversation,” he said. “Now, guides are telling me this would be great.”

Mark Richards is president of the group Resident Hunters of Alaska, and he supports both HB 129 and HB 260.

“We think it’s a great idea,” he said, explaining that it creates redundancy: Someone could carry both a paper copy and an electronic copy.

“Everybody carries a cellphone nowadays,” he said.

HB 129 and HB 260 each face long roads to passage. If approved by their respective committees in the House, they would still have to navigate the Senate, and ADF&G would be in charge of drafting regulations and methods to implement the electronic licensing program.

HB 129 will be heard in the judiciary committee at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. If approved, it next goes to the finance committee.


• Contact reporter James Brooks at james.k.brooks@juneauempire.com or call 523-2258.


More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of Sept. 25

Here’s what to expect this week.

A bracket fungus exudes guttation drops and a small fly appears to sip one of them.( Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Water drops on plants

Guttation drops contain not only water but also sugars, proteins, and probably minerals.

Police vehicles gather Wednesday evening near Kaxdigoowu Héen Dei, also known as ]]Brotherhood Bridge Trail, while investigating a homicide. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Police: Woman was walking dogs when she was killed

JPD said officers are working “around the clock” on the criminal investigation.

In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, a Coast Guard Cutter Kimball crew-member observes a foreign vessel in the Bering Sea, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter on routine patrol in the Bering Sea came across the guided missile cruiser from the People's Republic of China, officials said Monday, Sept. 26.  (U.S. Coast Guard District 17 via AP)
Patrol spots Chinese, Russian naval ships off Alaska island

This wasn’t the first time Chinese naval ships have sailed near Alaska waters.

An Alaska judge has ruled that a state lawmaker affiliated with the Oath Keepers, Rep. David Eastman, shown in this February 2022 photo, may stay on the general election ballot in November even though he's likely ineligible to hold public office  (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Judge keeps Oath Keepers lawmaker on November ballot

Judge ordered delaying certifying the result of the race until a trial scheduled for December.

Water rushes down Front Street, just a half block from the Bering Sea, in Nome, Alaska, on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022 as the remnants of Typhoon Merbok moved into the region. It was a massive storm system — big enough to cover the mainland U.S. from the Pacific Ocean to Nebraska and from Canada to Texas. It influenced weather systems as far away as California, where a rare late-summer storm dropped rain on the northern part of the state, offering a measure of relief to wildfire crews but also complicating fire suppression efforts because of mud and loosened earth. (AP Photo / Peggy Fagerstrom)
Repair work begins in some Alaska towns slammed by storm

ANCHORAGE — There’s been significant damage to some roads and homes in… Continue reading

j
Sniffen indicted on sexual abuse counts

Sniffen will be arraigned Monday.

In this undated file photo the Trans-Alaska pipeline and pump station north of Fairbanks, Alaska is shown. (AP Photo / Al Grillo)
Oil price drop endangers plan to fund Alaska schools a year early

If oil prices fall, amount is automatically reduced to an amount the state can afford. At

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Juneau Police Department announces technology and reporting updates

Emergeny services and direct reporting will not be interrupted

Most Read