Tuesday, January 26, 2016

House Bill 1885 Going Nowhere - May 2016 update

Apparently this bill has been referred to the Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee in the house where it will likely die a slow and uneventful death.  There are no scheduled hearings for this committee during this session. 5/17/2016

Now that the Missouri legislators are back on the job, it's time to check on House Bill 1885. As I suspected, Representative Wood's bill (HB 1885) to change wake restrictions on all lakes in Missouri is going nowhere.  It is not scheduled for any hearings, nor is it on the House's calendar.  The senate has no similar legislation proposed that I am aware of.  Here's my previous post detailing the proposed bill.

The lake's activities sometimes catch the attention of the public and, therefore, public officials, but rarely can a law or regulation solve a problem like this, and certainly not without unintended consequences. Remember in 1997 when Party Cove got a little too much attention in the media from angry residents in the newly developed Shawnee Bend area and suddenly there was an idea proposed to restrict the number of boats that could tie up together?  Boaters were completely unsupportive of this idea and the next year, everyone started going to Anderson Cove in the State Park for their party coving needs and the proposed regulation was never pursued, gratefully.

I'd like to think the boating community could solve this problem on their own as well, but the wake issue is different from the problem with Party Cove, it's more lake-wide in scope and effect.  The idea for these new regulations is simply the expected response from our representatives who feel they must do something, and to be fair they have; the public had the opportunity to make comment, propose ideas, now there is a bill, and it could be signed into law. Representative Wood has done his job, but that's only the beginning. Nothing will change unless we, the people, decide it's important enough to pass new restrictions and apply the pressure needed to make it happen. Could it pass, as is, without more vocal public support? Possibly, but not likely given where it stands on the agenda. The house and senate have other initiatives they feel are more important. It is after all an election year, but never forget, legislators don't like messing around with laws that directly impact the financial golden goose that is the Lake of the Ozarks unless they have too.

It may well be that people want more stringent regulations when it comes to boating in Missouri, and although I doubt it would be effective, let us not be disingenuous to Representative Wood's efforts. His bill could be the answer, there are parts of it I think could help, but it will need full hearings to be perfected.  If others feel this bill could solve the wake issue, and they can live with the consequences, than they should get organized and start supporting it.  Otherwise it's easy to see it going nowhere.

It's our choice citizens.