Back'n Off In 'Bama

March 2006 News

Alabama lawmakers have reduced the number of lakes that would ban houseboats and other large boats under the latest version of a bill making its way through the state Senate.


Originally, legislators wanted to ban the boats on eight lakes. They reduced that number to three.   


Lakes Harris, Martin and Weiss remain in the bill, while Lakes Jordan, Lay, Logan Martin, Mitchell, Neely Henry, Smith, Thurlow and Yates were removed, The Birmingham News reports.


The bill would ban houseboats and all other boats longer than 30 feet 6 inches, and boats longer than 26 feet, 11 inches that can exceed 60 mph. Sailboats are exempt, and houseboats already in place would be allowed to remain.


There are six meeting days left in the legislative session, and lawmakers told the newspaper they did not know when the Senate would vote on this bill.


Two other states are considering similar legislation.


In Georgia a bill was introduced that would ban boats over 30 feet, 6 inches from Lake Burton, Seed Lake, Lake Rabun, Lake Tugalo, Tallulah Falls Lake and Lake Yonah. The bill was approved by the House Game, Fish, and Parks Committee on March 8, and passed by the full House of Representatives March 13.


Legislation pending in the Minnesota State Legislature would give the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources the authority to ban any boat on lakes designated for wildlife management. The bill pertains to game and fish management, and includes a provision allowing the commissioner to restrict watercraft as he "determines necessary."

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