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Volunteer firefighters get half-price hunting and fishing licenses

Volunteer firefighters in North Carolina who have served for five consecutive years will be eligible to purchase a lifetime hunting and fishing license from the Wildlife Resources Commission for half of the full cost.

 

The General Assembly passed the bill last month. Although the law takes effect Tuesday, the implementation date has yet to be determined, Fairley Mahlum, communications director for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission said in an email. "We will be meeting with the Firefighters Association to work through logistics, then we will work internally across multiple divisions at the agency to determine the start date for the program," he said.

Over the past few years, volunteer fire departments have seen declining membership around the state and the hope is that the opportunity to receive a lifetime license at such a steep discount will be an important recruiting tool for departments around the state.

"This decline in volunteer fire department membership that we have seen over the past few years is a serious issue, especially in rural communities like ours where most of the fire departments are volunteer," Sens. Warren Daniel (R-Burke), Danny Britt (R-Robeson), and Ted Alexander (R-Cleveland) said in a joint statement. "We hope this is just the beginning of more comprehensive approach to recruiting and retaining the volunteer firefighters that our communities so desperately need. We are very thankful to these firefighters who selflessly put their lives on the line for their neighbors, and hope they will take advantage of this new opportunity."

Earlier this year, Sens. Daniel, Britt and Alexander filed the 2019 Volunteer Firefighter Recruitment and Retention Act. The bill contains other volunteer firefighter recruitment and retention components including a new scholarship program, and local property tax incentives. The bill was discussed earlier this session in committee, but has not yet moved forward for a vote.