The Arizona Game and Fish Commission’s legislation, Senate Bill 1223, to allow the commission to set future license structure and fees (including all licenses types, permits, tags, stamps and watercraft registrations) directly through a streamlined, customer-focused process, as opposed to the existing complex legislative and rulemaking processes, was passed unanimously by the Arizona Senate’s Natural Resources and Rural Affairs Committee on Feb. 6.
The bill, which is supported by numerous sportsmen’s organizations, will next receive a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee, possibly in the next two weeks.
Customers have asked for a simpler license structure. The complexity of the current structure has been identified as a barrier to hunter and angler recruitment and retention. The existing process for changing license structure is complex and time-consuming, and it prevents timely reaction to changing customer needs or conditions. Currently, the commission needs legislative approval (i.e., passage of a bill) to revise the license structure, even to offer discounts. If the bill passes, the commission then must go through a regular rulemaking process to implement the structure. All of this can take three or more years to complete.
If SB 1223 were to pass, license structure and fees would be established through a new customer-focused rulemaking process. It would not require passage of a bill through the Legislature, although the commission would still be under legislative oversight. The bill includes oversight measures and “checks and balances” on the commission’s authority to set license structure and fees under this new authority.
Benefits of SB 1223 include:
- A simpler, easier to understand license structure. More than 40 license types that currently exist could be significantly decreased in number to reduce customer confusion.
- Better products, increased value. A 365-day license could be offered rather than a calendar year license, or licenses could bundle stamp privileges.
- Flexibility. The commission could react more quickly in response to customer needs, marketing opportunities or biological factors — examples might include reduced prices for large numbers of leftover tags or temporarily discounting license fees as incentives.
- Hunter and angler input. Direct customer access and input opportunities with the five-member Game and Fish Commission.
You can learn more about SB 1223 and view answers to frequently asked questions by visiting www.azgfd.gov/LicenseSimplification.
Image courtesy Arizona Game and Fish Department