Assemblyman Thiele, Senator Zeldin Praise Governor’s Decision to Include Permanent Repeal of Saltwater Fishing License in 30 Amendments to Executive Budget

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I, D, WF-Sag Harbor) and Senator Lee Zeldin (R-C-I, Shirley) today reported that Governor Andrew Cuomo adopted legislative language proposed by the pair to permanently repeal the Saltwater Fishing License enacted in 2009 in the Governor’s 30-day amendments to the Executive Budget (A.3008-B/S.2608-B, Section 14).

Thiele and Zeldin had introduced A.4838/S.3709 earlier this Session to alter Section 9 of Part AA of Chapter 60 of the Laws of 2011 which placed a 2-year moratorium on the State’s license fee and established a free registration system instead. The 2-year moratorium is set to expire on December 31, 2013. A.4838/S.3709 seeks to make this change permanent, such that New Yorkers will never have to pay a fee to recreationally fish in New York State.

Thiele and Zeldin vehemently opposed the license requirement since its introduction, and have sponsored legislation to repeal the requirement ever since.

Thiele stated, “The idea of a Saltwater Fishing license was ill-conceived from the outset. Not only was it a tax on one of the fundamental rights that Long Island residents have had since colonial times, but it was a burden to the recreational fishing industry at a time when the recession was taking its toll on the local economy. This action will, once again, show that State recognizes that the right to fish should be free and that recreational fishing is a critical part of the Long Island economy.”

Senator Lee Zeldin said, "The saltwater fishing license fee should have never been passed in the first place. Assemblyman Thiele and I have been fighting hard against this fee since it was enacted and we are looking forward to its permanent elimination in this year’s state budget. This is great news for so many Long Islanders who should be able to enjoy recreational fishing without the burden of yet another cost, and it will encourage visitors to come to Long Island and experience some of the best fishing in the state.”

The Governor proposed budget language must still be adopted in the final State Budget, which is expected to be approved by April 1.