Yesterday, Safari Club International presented Senator Dan Laughlin of Pennsylvania with the 2019 State Legislator of the Year Award at his office in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Senator Laughlin’s legislative accomplishments were previously honored this year at SCI’s virtual Board of Director’s meeting in May, but the physical award was presented to him by SCI CEO W. Laird Hamberlin, Regional Representative Chris Muller, and current and past Lehigh Valley Chapter Presidents, Mike Walters and Tim Rieger.
“Safari Club International and its members once again applaud Senator Laughlin for not only his leadership in helping end the centuries-old prohibition on Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania through Senate Bill 147 but also his leadership as the Chairman of the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee,” said Safari Club International CEO W. Laird Hamberlin. “Sportsmen and women in Pennsylvania are in good hands with leaders like Senator Laughlin in Harrisburg.”
Senator Laughlin was elected to serve the state senate in 2016, and the 49th district he represents includes portions of Erie, Pennsylvania. He serves as Chairman of the Pennsylvania Senate Game and Fisheries Committee, the Vice Chairman of the Banking and Insurance Committee. He is currently the Co-Chair of the Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus.
In 2019, Senator Laughlin was the primary sponsor and vocal champion of Senate Bill 147, historic legislation that ended the prohibition on Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania. Safari Club International and its members in Pennsylvania worked tirelessly to support Senator Laughlin’s efforts with its members in Pennsylvania to advocate for Senate Bill 147, submitting written testimony and urging both House and Senate members to pass the legislation.
Pennsylvania hunters eager to see the law had to wait a year for the changes to take effect, but for the first time since hunting regulations in Pennsylvania went into effect, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is proud to provide the state’s first big game hunting opportunities on Sundays.
Senate Bill 147 provides for hunting on three Sundays: one during rifle deer season, one during the statewide archery deer season, and one on a Sunday determined by the Game Commission. The bill also amends the Pennsylvania Game Code to define trespassing while hunting a primary offense and increasing the associated penalties.
The state’s first Sunday hunt is for archery deer on November 15, followed by a November 22 bear hunting Sunday, and finally, a deer hunting day during regular firearms season on November 29. To further celebrate this momentous occasion, Pennsylvania firearm deer season will also open on a Saturday for the first time in state history instead of the traditional Monday. These changes should provide significantly more opportunities to get outside and enjoy the state’s tremendous hunting opportunities.