- Associated Press - Friday, February 13, 2015

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Alaska lawmakers have moved a bill to extend the licensing program for sportfishing guides.

The program, through which the Alaska Department of Fish and Game licenses and regulates sportfishing guides and operations, expired at the end of 2014.

The House special committee on fisheries moved a bill Thursday that would re-establish the program beginning in 2016. That was introduced by Reps. Cathy Tilton and Cathy Munoz.

This year, Fish and Game is issuing temporary licenses without a fee. Operators still must provide information about their trips.

The bill would phase in increased costs for guides and operators in 2017 and 2018. The current fees support about half the cost of administering the program, according to the fiscal analysis.

The program would next sunset in 2026, under the bill.

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