SPRINGFIELD – State Rep. Jack Franks introduced a bill this week that would eliminate hunting and fishing fees for people older than age 75.
The bill, which he filed Monday, would waive the required $13.50 yearly fee for a senior’s combination hunting/fishing license, which already is reduced from the $26.25 that residents younger than age 65 must pay.
“By the time you’ve reached 75, you’re entitled to some breaks,” Franks said. “You’ve paid your dues. Enough is enough.”
Franks, D-Marengo, said eliminating the fee would allow seniors, who are typically on a fixed income, the freedom to enjoy outdoor activities without worrying about the financial impact.
“It’s a small issue, but I think it’s an important issue,” he said.
Harvard resident Bill Matteson, 77, proposed the idea to Franks in October and said the bill would be a way to give a break to residents who have spent a lifetime paying the fee.
“If it’s free, one thing is we won’t forget to renew our license,” Matteson joked. “It’s just going to save us a couple bucks. … I think the state of Illinois should say thanks to the senior citizens for supporting the program for so many years.”
Matteson said he enjoys hunting and fishing, especially for salmon in Lake Michigan, but admits he doesn’t get out as much as he used to. Eliminating the fee would be a big benefit to the older outdoorsmen in the state, he said.
“I think every senior citizen in the state of Illinois will thank [Franks] for that,” he said.