Penalties could drop for hunting and fishing violations

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) Governor Bill Walker has supported a bill that would treat hunting and fishing violations more like traffic tickets than criminal cases.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Alaska has moved some misdemeanor crimes to lesser violations.  One change would give new leniency to hunters and fishermen who have licenses but don't have them on their person when they are approached in the field by law enforcement.  These hunters and fishermen could bring the licenses when they appear in court.

The bill does, however, call for increasing fines for commercial fishing violations and for the offense of unlawfully taking an animal. The fine for illegally taking a bison, for example, would more than double to $3,000. The bill would also allow the state to charge larger fines for hunters and fishermen who fail to buy licenses.

The bill passed through the House Resources Committee and was scheduled for a hearing at the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

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