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NMMA advocacy efforts paying off

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The National Marine Manufacturers Association state advocacy team was busy last month, with 43 states in the middle of their legislative sessions. The recreational boating industry picked up a win in Georgia, where the legislature passed a vessel titling law.

In a statement, the association said its advocacy team is engaged on multiple issues across all 50 states. As part of the NMMA’s strategy, the organization says it’s bolstering its advocacy efforts at the state level and is providing its first monthly recap of its results. In the future, NMMA will provide similar updates on the third or fourth Thursday of every month. Following are some highlights.

  • Vessel Titling

In Alabama, the Uniform Certificate of Title Act (SB152/HB303) was introduced in both chambers of the state legislature. They were favorably reported out of their respected committees.

Florida has an existing title law and the NMMA has been working to improve it. New legislation provides consumer protection and modifications to create uniformity with other states. The U.S. Coast Guard, BoatUS, NMMA and the state department of motor vehicles all support the update. The house version of the bill (HB0475) should go to a full body vote next week and the senate version (SB676) should be voted on in about two weeks.

As mentioned above, the Georgia legislature passed HB314 for vessel titling and is headed for Governor Brian Kemp’s desk.

  • Boating Access and Infrastructure

In Florida, a bill (HB529/SB436) authorizes counties and municipalities to use a portion of registration fees to be used for construction and maintenance of boat ramps, channel dredging and other maintenance projects.

Across the border in Georgia, the Jekyll Island area of the Intracoastal Waterway is heavily silted in. A project is now underway to dredge the mile-long stretch of the ICW and use some dredged material to raise the level of surrounding marshes.

  • Wake Surfing

The sport has been drawing the wrong type of attention for the marine industry and in New Hampshire, House Bill HB137 has created a study committee to assess the impacts of wake boats on the state’s waters. The 21-member commission includes representatives from government, homeowners and boat dealers and owners.

Next door in Vermont, SB69 would give a state commission the authority to ban wake boats from any body of water. Its sponsor, Senator Paul Rodgers, is reportedly concerned about the possibility that ballasted boats transmit aquatic invasive species.

Out west in Montana, HB608 would require that drivers towing a boat will be stopped at the border and quizzed to determine the likelihood of a boat contaminating the state’s waters. The bill has cleared the house and is before the state’s senate natural resources committee.

In Idaho, Valley County is considering an ordinance that would require wake boats to be 1,000 feet offshore and personal watercraft would need to be used 300 feet from shore.

In Wisconsin and Minnesota, homeowner’s associations and local governments have attempted to restrict or band surfing on some lakes. The NMMA is keeping an eye on these states.

  • Fishing

The NMMA founded the California Sportfishing League and is involved in passing a bill that would create a 12-month fishing license. The state assembly’s appropriations committee voted to support year-long licenses. Currently, they expire at the end of a year regardless of when they are purchased.

  • Under the heading of Moderately Active, NMMA worked with on tax issues in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Texas. The states of Minnesota and California are establishing outdoor recreation offices and the Lonestar State’s house of representatives has also passed a bill requiring the use of automatic cutoff switches if they were installed by the boat manufacturer. California is also considering Assembly Bill 147 that would increase the existing Amazon law for online sales in the state.
  • The association is monitoring the introduction of an aquatic invasive species law (HB2076) in Oregon. For the second straight year, the New York legislature is considering a bill that requires all boats used in the instruction of youth be equipped with a propeller guard. 

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