State lawmakers have cleared the way for Alaskans to carry their permits to hunt, fish and trap in electronic as well as physical form, a move which makes the documents “join the 21st century” according to its main sponsor.

Rep. Dan Saddler (R-Eagle River/JBER) announced Friday that both chambers of the Legislature have passed House Bill 260, allowing residents to present those licenses to Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials or Alaska Wildlife Troopers electronically.

Saddler’s bill, which still allows paper licenses to be presented as well, unanimously passed the House earlier this month but had just a two-week window to pass the Senate as well.

The licenses are poised to join proof of car insurance as documents which state law says can be presented on devices like smartphones and tablet computers. Under the bill, law enforcement officers can neither access other materials on those devices when looking at a license nor be held liable for accidental damage to the device while doing so.

“Traditional Alaskan activities like hunting and fishing will now be even more enjoyable, and better-managed, if Alaskans and visitors have a more convenient, reliable, and durable way to buy and display their licenses,” Saddler said in Friday’s statement. “I’m excited this bill will take effect just in time for fishermen to use it during this this summer’s red season!”

Under the bill, people ticketed for failure to present a license will be able to present the license electronically within 30 days to the citing agency, as they already can using a paper copy, to cancel the ticket.

The bill now heads to Gov. Bill Walker’s desk for his signature.

Steve Quinn contributed information to this story.

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