A member of the House received unanimous support on a bill that brings outdoor recreation permits into the digital age.

Under House Bill 260, introduced by Rep. Dan Saddler (R-Eagle River), permit holders can either carry the traditional paper license or have it stored in their smartphones.

The bill does not cover those with commercial fishing licenses.

He says nearly one-third of Alaska households have a fishing permit.

On Friday morning, Saddler spoke to his bill before his House colleagues, none of whom opposed the bill.

“Currently, state law describes a license as paper, but for anybody who has ever slipped into a river or stream trying to land that king or who has sat in a duck blind in the rain waiting for the ducks to fly over, knows that paper licenses can become soggy or unavailable at the worse possible time,” he said.

“There is almost no aspect of life in Alaska that our cellphones and smartphones have not made easier,” he said. “This bill seeks to apply the same advantages of modern technology to the timeless traditional Alaska activities of fishing hunting and trapping.”

Saddler says smartphones have become an indispensable part of daily life throughout the country and applying the technology to outdoor licenses is a natural advancement.

“It would make it easier, more convenient to obtain licenses,” Saddler said. “It would help entice new participants by lowering the barriers to entry. It will make Alaska that much more attractive as a tourist destination.”

Saddler’s bill passed 37-0 but must still clear the Senate with just under two weeks remaining in the session.

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