Ohio trade group holds legislative conference

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More than 40 boaters, boat dealers, marina operators and yacht club members from across Ohio traveled to Columbus last week to meet with legislators at the Boating Associations of Ohio Legislative Conference.

State House Speaker Bill Batchelder and Ohio Department of Natural Resources director David Mustine highlighted a lineup of speakers that preceded roundtable discussions.

State Rep. Bill Hayes was well-received for his discussion of House Bill 191, a measure he introduced in April that would prohibit the school year from starting before Labor Day and require it to end before Memorial Day, according to the boating group.

“More and more schools have been opening up before Labor Day, which cuts into the boating season and takes away a number of recreational opportunities for families,” Boating Associations of Ohio executive director Ken Alvey said in a statement. “When you think about all the vacation and tourism dollars at stake, it really is a big deal.”

Presenters Dennis Murray, a state representative whose district includes all of the Lake Erie shoreline in Erie and Ottawa counties, state Sen. Bill Seitz, of Cincinnati, Scott Zody, assistant director of the natural resources department, and Steve Wermuth of the state Department of Health rounded out the day with talks about everything from marina rules to the future of state government.

The Boating Associations of Ohio was established in 1986 to unify the state’s recreational boating industry with individual boat owners in order to strengthen boater voices in Columbus. Its affiliated groups represent more than 300 dealers, marina operators and other organizations on the Ohio River, Lake Erie and inland bodies of water.