I spoke with Senator Douglas, the bills sponsor, last Wednesday and he told me that a similar bill had been proposed last year but failed because it was for a completely free lifetime license. The DNR Committee that provides guidance to the Senate on these issues had recommended that the bill not pass because of the completely free aspect. The DNR stated that they agree that the veterans should be given a break but that the DNR receives a great deal of funding from the Feds based on license SALES and the free license would lose that funding. This yearâ€™s bill to offer the license at half price should be a good compromise and have a better chance of passing. I am awaiting a return call from the Director of the DNR so that we can discuss his stand on this yearâ€™s bill. Please call your local state senators and reps and let them know you support this bill as a way to say thanks to Georgiaâ€™s Veterans for their service to the country.
I spoke with the Director of the DNR on this and he indicates that DNR would support it hands down if the House and Senate include language to have the $250 per license discount paid to the DNR from the General Account. He pointed out, and I wholeheartedly agree, that DNR already is strapped for funds and this could result in loss of services or Rangers in the field if the discounted funds were not recovered. I work directly with the local Rangers in my work as a Hunters Education Instructor and can assure you that they work on a very thin budget. When you talk to your Reps be sure to push for them to offset the discount with the General Fund.
I personally don't support this bill. I oppose on principle any law that causes the government to treat certain groups of people differently than others. Whether this is the elderly, vets, poor people, ex-leos, rich people, asians, arabs, whites, etc doesn't really matter to me. Everyone should be equal under the law. This includes the little things like a hunting license and big things like where you can carry a weapon.