Legislation introduced by state Rep. Nick Milroy, D-South Range and Wisconsin's bipartisan Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus was signed into law last week; the new law will increase hunting and fishing opportunities for individuals with a life-threatening disease.
Dubbed "Brittany's Law," the bill will allow nonprofit organizations access to hunting tags and fishing licenses at no cost as long as they are used by individuals that are determined to be terminally ill by their physician.
According to Milroy, the suggestion for legislation came from Brigid O'Donoghue, CEO and founder of United Special Sportsman Alliance, a national nonprofit that provides cost free outdoor wish trips for children and veterans with disabilities and life-threatening illnesses.
"Brigid approached me with the idea of introducing a bill to treat terminally-ill non-residents as residents when purchasing hunting tags," Milroy said. "Funds saved would be used to purchase airline tickets, lodging and food during their stay in Wisconsin."
During testimony before the Natural Resources Committee, Milroy said the committee heard compelling testimony from individuals that have experienced hunting excursions during their troublesome times in illness, knowing the end of their life may be near.
"We heard about how these trips lifted them and their family up and how the memories last a lifetime," Milroy said. "Ultimately, it was decided the bill would be amended to eliminate the costs for hunting and fishing for all terminally ill individuals, both residents and nonresidents."
Milroy said a particularly moving story was shared by the father of a young girl, Brittany, who has suffered from cancer since she was 8 years old.
"Brittany went on a hunting trip that made such a positive impact on her life," said Milroy. "We were all moved by Brittany's story, so much so that Chairman Kleefisch dubbed the bill as 'Brittany's Law.' Another dream came true for Brittany today when she was able to be at the bill signing ceremony."
The new law requires the cost free hunting tags and fishing licenses must be requested from the Department of Natural Resources through a nonprofit agency.
For more information about Brigid O'Donohue's charity, visit www.childswish.org.