After passing the Senate by a 31 to 19 vote the Boat Fee Legislation has now passed onto the House. The House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee will review the Senate version, potentially propose amending language and vote whether to pass it to the House floor for a vote. THIS IS THE TIME TO KILL THE BILL. Please take the time to send a letter, email or phone call to each member of the House FWP committee.
The House FWP Committee scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday 3:00 PM, March 25, 2003 Room 152 in the Capitol building. Filling the room with a solid show of opposition with valid arguments may just end this process. Be sure to keep your oral arguments brief. A list of key opposition points is available below.
From the Senate hearing I discovered it is useful to provide written testimony to augment your oral presentation. Provide 20 copies, one for each representative of the committee. Written testimony offers two advantages it allows you to provide more information than your oral arguments and it provides the committee members a reminder of what they heard.
Take Action: Help kill this bill before it leaves the Senate Fish and Game Committee
If passed this bill could set a precedent for similar legislation in other states. Your letters can still help kill this bill at the committee level. American Whitewater has drafted a list of key opposition points. American Whitewater has also drafted a guidance document for combating legislative attempts that unfairly propose fees for non-motorized boats.
Honorable [First Name] [Initial] [Last Name]
P.O. Box 201706
Helena, MT 59620-1706
RE: Senate Bill 287: Bill to establish Montana Boater Registration Fee
Honorable [Last Name],
On February 25, 2003 the Senate approved SB 287 by a 30 to 19 vote. I am opposed to SB 287 because it unfairly discriminates against individuals that own non-motorized boats. The bill is intended to generate revenue for acquisition and maintenance of FWP Fishing Access Sites by charging a registration fee for non-motorized boats. These public access sites are used equally by land-based recreation users. Accordingly, these users should also contribute to the acquisition and maintenance of Fishing Access Sites. I recommend this legislation be re-drafted to include all users in the form of a recreation pass for all users utilizing FWP Fishing Access Sites or be dropped altogether.
Furthermore, SB 287 conflicts directly with HB 407 passed by the House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee. HB 407 prohibits MT FWP from charging a fee for day use of Fishing Access Sites. The House FWP Committee should not in good conscience require a fee for boating interests while legislating no fee for other interest groups that also use the same sites in equal or greater numbers.
John T. Gangemi
Background on this Legislation
On Thursday, February 6, 2003, John Gangemi, American Whitewater Conservation Director, traveled to Helena Montana to deliver oral testimony to the Montana Senate Fish and Game Committee. The Committee held a public hearing for Senate Bill 287. This legislation if passed would require all canoes, kayaks and rafts to be registered at a cost of $8.50 per boat. American Whitewater alerted the paddling community to this issue in January while the bill was still in draft stage. Similar legislation has been proposed for Connecticut.
Joe Balyeat, Chair (R-HD32), Bozeman JOEBALYEAT@YAHOO.COM
Mike Lange, Vice Majority (R-HD19), Billings MLANGE6@HOTMAIL.COM
George Golie, Vice Minority (D- HD44), Great Falls GGOLIE@IN-TCH.COM
Debby Barrett (R-HD34), Dillon GRT3177@MONTANA.COM
Paul Clark (D- HD72), Trout Creek PCLARKHD72@YAHOO.COM
Jill Cohenour (D- HD51), East Helena UTOPIAMT@PRODIGY.NET
George Everett (R- HD84), Kalispell (Use Legislative Email)
Tom Facey (D- HD67), Missoula FACEY_TOM@HOTMAIL.COM
Dan Fuchs (R- HD15), Billings DANICLINT@AOL.COM
Steve Gallus (D- HD35), Butte GALLUS@IN-TCH.COM
Carol Gibson (D- HD20), Billings JCGIBSON@IMT.NET
Gail Gutsche (D- HD66), Missoula, GUTSCHE@WILDROCKIES.ORG
Larry Jent (D- HD29), Bozeman (Use Legislative Email)
Bob Lake (R- HD60), Hamilton LAKEMILL@MONTANA.COM
Don Roberts (R- HD10), Billings DLROBERTS@ATTBI.COM
Alan Rome (R- HD56), Garison CUTTERROME@AOL.COM
Scott Sales (R- HD27), Bozeman RSSWRANGLER@EARTHLINK.NET
Jim Shockley (R- HD61), Victor (Use Legislative Email)
Pat Wagman (R- HD26), Livingston (Use Legislative Email)
Sandy Weiss (D- HD13), Billings WEISSFORHD13@HOTMAIL.COM
Staffer: Doug Sternberg (LSD)
Secretary: Kathleen Ely,
Rm 173, Ph 444-4607