HB197 would deny fishing and hunting privileges to deadbeat parents

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The Utah House has passed a bill that would keep parents with outstanding child support payments from obtaining a fishing or hunting license.

HB197 would keep government workers from handing out any type of tag, permit or license related to fishing or hiking if the person has not paid their child support. The state would create a database to track whether someone has qualified to receive a license. 

Bill sponsor Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, R-Syracuse, said that the bill was designed after similar bills that had been passed in other seven other states. Lisonbee said that collections from this policy in Pennsylvania are estimated to be around $800,000 per month. 

According to the original fiscal note, An estimated 14,122 individuals in Utah could possibly be prevented from purchasing a license or permit, wich costs around $48. Because of the possible financial impact, the wording in the updated bill says that a delinquent person doesn’t necessarily need pay all unpaid child support. Instead, they need to show a plan to make payments for 12 consecutive months in order to qualify for a license or permit. Lisonbee said that it will likely only affect about 6,700 cases. 

Mike Fowlks, the director of Utah Division of Wildlife spoke during the presentation concerning the financial impact of the legislation.

“We believe that we can absorb that fiscal impact,” Fowlks said. “This bill is the right thing to do.”

HB 197 is waiting for action in the Utah Senate. The bill, if passed, will be enacted on July 21, 2021

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