January 29, 2024

CSF Recommends Amendments to Discounted and Free License Bills in Nebraska

Article Contact: Jake Gould,

Why It Matters: Legislative efforts to offer discounted or no-cost licenses for certain demographics, most commonly veterans, continue to be increasingly common across the country. It is no different in the Great Plains, as Nebraska has introduced several bills that would offer both discounted and no-cost licenses for resident and nonresident veterans that, if passed as written, would carry unforeseen consequences when it comes to the state agency’s ability to collect federal money through the Pitman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts.


  • Ahead of the committee hearing on January 25, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted testimony recommending amendments be made to Nebraska Legislative Bill 826 and Legislative Bill 1036.
  • Legislative Bill 826 (LB 826) removes the residency requirement which allows for nonresident veterans to be eligible to receive an annual combination fishing, fur-harvesting, and hunting permit at a discounted rate.
  • Legislative Bill 1036 (LB 1036) allows for active duty and veterans who are Nebraska residents to receive a free annual combination fishing, fur-harvesting, and hunting permit.

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation submitted formal testimony to the Natural Resources Committee encouraging amendments be made to Legislative Bill 826 and Legislative Bill 1036. LB 826, as presented, would offer nonresident veterans a discounted annual combination license, while LB 1036 offers active duty and veteran Nebraska residents a no-cost annual combination license. While CSF appreciates opportunities to show support for those who have served our nation as members of the armed forces, the amendments outlined in CSF’s testimony are to ensure the future success of the “user pays – public benefits” American System of Conservation Funding.

The ASCF serves as one of the primary sources of revenue for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s (NGPC) fish and wildlife conservation efforts. The loss of revenue from the discounted and no-cost licenses, presented in both bills is evident. What is less known is the impact of the no-cost licenses, such as those described in LB 1036, on NGPC’s ability to fully claim their portion of revenue made available through the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts. The federal dollars from these Acts are calculated based on the sale, among other factors, of hunting and fishing licenses that results in revenue being collected by NGPC.

These well intended pieces of legislation carry unintended consequences that may negatively impact the NGPC and, as a result, the quality of opportunities available to sportsmen and women. For the legislature to offer these rewards, the suggested amendments provided in testimony recommend including language for reimbursement to NGPC from the state general fund for the revenue lost foregone as a result of these discounted and no-cost licenses. Doing so will allow the legislature to rightfully reward active duty military and veterans while also ensuring that NGPC will receive the funding necessary to continue their work managing the Cornhusker state’s fish and wildlife resources.

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