(Feb. 25) – A bill that provides wounded veterans with free fishing licenses passed the House Agricultural & Natural Resources Committee on a vote of 10 to zero.
HB13-1232, sponsored by Rep. Mike McLachlan (D-Durango), will authorize the program for free fishing licenses for the active-duty military members who have been transferred to the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Carson, Colorado. In 2010, Gov. Bill Ritter signed a law that provided active-duty wounded service personnel free big game licenses. In addition, the state has several other hunting and fishing benefits for severely disabled Colorado veterans and active-duty military who are Colorado residents.
“This is a simple way we can assist those who have fought for us,” Rep. McLachlan said. “Fishing provides great benefits to our wounded warriors and assists with rehabilitating our soldiers who have come back from war with mental and physical injuries.”
Various individual veterans and groups representing veterans testified in support of the bill, including representatives from the Warrior Transition Battalion, Project Healing Waters and United Veterans Committee.
Retired Army Staff Sergeant Dan Gomez testified how a veterans fly-fishing program helped him after combat.
“Project Healing Waters really helped me refocus with a lot of the issues I had going on,” Gomez said.
Another witness, Army veteran Joe Vigil, echoed Gomez.
“You can see a 100 percent difference,” Vigil told the committee.