WYOMING — A bill awarding 100 of Wyoming’s Purple Heart recipients with free lifetime fishing and small game and bird licenses was turned down a second time by the state Senate.
Bill SF-90 would provide free lifetime fishing and small game and bird licenses to Purple Heart recipients; however, it was given rough treatment by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The Game and Fish Department said any additional cost of the bill could be covered by an existing fund balance, but the Appropriations Committee took exception then denied a $4,700 request for the program.
There is currently $980,000 in an existing fund established many years ago by the legislature to reimburse the Game and Fish for these free licenses. The legislature is appropriating additional $1.7 million to the account from the current budget. The Game and Fish said there are plenty of funds in the fund to handle the $4,700 cost, and no additional money would be needed.
Wyoming has around 640 Purple Heart recipients, many of whom are eligible for a free license under the current disability statutes. About 100 would be covered by this legislative bill.
This little gesture is the least we can do to honor these men and women. But then on the other hand, the Appropriations Committee granted the University of Wyoming $8 million for a sports program for athletes. I don’t begrudge the University for getting the money, but why can’t we afford $4,700 for our wounded warriors? Where is our sense of honor and pride for these veterans?
-Stan Cooper, Sen. Sweetwater County
Sen. Stan Cooper, R-Sweetwater County, said the bill will have its 3rd reading today. He hopes to pass out of the Senate, even without the money and then get it straightened out in the House.