Bill that allows hunting in Pennsylvania on three Sundays a year is closer to reaching Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk

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    A bill that allows hunting in Pennsylvania on three Sundays a year passed the state House on Wednesday.

    By a 144-54 vote, the lower chamber approved the bill, sponsored by state Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-Erie. 

    The bill pitted rural lawmakers, hoping to keep countrysides clear of orange vested hunters for at least one day a week, against the National Rifle Association and pro-hunting groups.

    Pennsylvania currently restricts hunting on Sundays as part of a slate of so-called “blue laws,” or morality statutes that limit individuals’ activities on that day of the week.

    The current version of the bill, heavily amended to appease the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, only allows for hunting on three select Sundays a year — one during deer rifle season, one during deer bow season, and another chosen by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

    The original version allowed hunting on every Sunday during hunting seasons.

    House lawmakers also amended the bill to increase penalties for trespassing while hunting, and allow local law enforcement to aid state game wardens in enforcing the trespassing provisions.

    The Senate passed the bill in June, 36-14, but now must approve the changes. After that, the legislation heads to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk.