(CN) - California's practice of charging out-of-state fishermen two to three times more for fishing licenses than state residents is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled.
Kevin Marilley and other out-of-state fishermen challenged the disparity in the fees for in-state and out-of-state commercial fishing licenses, vessel registrations, herring gillnet permits and Dungeness crab vessel permits.
They filed a federal lawsuit against Charlton Bonham, director of the California Department of Fish and Game. The plaintiffs claimed that the fee differentials, which began in 1986, violated the equal protection and privileges and immunities clauses of the U.S. Constitution.
The latter clause prohibits state governments from giving their residents an unfair advantage in business.