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The Senate gave final passage Thursday to a bill allowing more youth to fish for free but some senators worry that is teaching bad citizenship, and may help kids expect something for nothing.
The Senate passed HB125 by a 22-5 vote, and sent it to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.
Current law already allows 12- and 13-year-olds to fish without buying a license when they are part of an organized-group outing with a licensed adult, such as schools, Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. The bill would allow the same for 14- and 15-year-olds.
But Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, said Boy Scouts are supposed to learn good citizenship, too. She argued in debate earlier this week that the bill essentially teaches "you don't have any public responsibility to pay fees that help support fisheries."
Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, a former scoutmaster, agreed. He said he always made his scouts buy licenses even though some could fish for free with the group. "We need to learn that nothing is free," he said.
Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville, added, "We need to teach personal responsibility."
But Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, said it is important to help youth become acquainted with the outdoors, hunting and fishing especially those who may not have much money.
"Once you start fishing," he joked, "you'll be hooked."