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Legislation passes to provide Guardsmen with hunting licenses

Legislative Support Services Photo Department: House Bill No. 1351 &emdash; 20160331_103934ab

Guard members will get some kinds of hunting licenses for free

On March 31, Gov. Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1351, giving several types of recreational hunting licenses at no cost to members of the Washington National Guard, who are residents, as a benefit for being part of the Guard.

The legislation, introduced in January 2015 by the National Guard Association of Washington and spearheaded by Rep. Brian Blake of Aberdeen, grants the following: a small game hunting license, a supplemental migratory bird permit and a big game hunting license to local Guardsmen.

House Bill 1351 passed unanimously on March 8 after the House agreed to the amendments made in the Senate, “Upon written application and department verification, the recreational hunting licenses must be issued at no cost to a resident member of the State Guard or National Guard, as defined in RCW 38.04.010, as long as the State Guard or National Guard member is: An active full-time State Guard or National Guard employee; or a State Guard or National Guard member whose status requires the State Guard or National Guard member to participate in drill training on a part-time basis”

The new law gives nearly 8,200 soldiers and airmen, most of whom do the job part-time, an additional benefit to being a member of the Washington National Guard.

During the Legislative session last year, Col. Dan Dent and other Guard members testified to the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee, stating that the passing of this legislation “would be a powerful statement” and “would offer a meaningful impact to recruiting and retention efforts" of the Washington National Guard.

Last year, the Guard instituted a scholarship program, thanks to financial assistance provided by the state Legislature.