Eye On Boise

Boat sticker bill passes House

The House has voted 63-5 in favor of HB 213, the bill to combat quagga and zebra mussels by imposing a fee on all boats launched in Idaho, motorized and non-motorized alike. The cost for the annual sticker would be $10 for boats registered in Idaho, $20 for those registered elsewhere, and $5 for non-motorized boats, which aren't registered. The only exclusion would be for inflatables less than 10 feet long. Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, gave the only opposing debate, saying, "I know I'm gonna be the skunk in the garden this morning." Clark objected to the bill's emergency clause, the fact that the money would go into a fund subject to appropriation rather than a dedicated fund, and the idea of leaving details to rule-making. He noted that the bill itself just collects the fee; it doesn't set up wash stations at boat ramps or even mention the invasive mussels. "Why not do this at the ports of entry before they come in here?" Clark asked. "This is like washing your hands after you eat." Several backers of the bill, however, countered that some Idaho lakes cross state lines and no ports of entry are available to intercept boats there.

Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, sponsor of the bill, said if the mussels get into Idaho waterways, it'll cost the state more than $94 million a year to cope with the mess. Rep. Tom Trail, R-Moscow, the House agriculture chairman, said the preventive action is warranted for the insidious mussels. "Other invasive species, once they get here you have a chance to fight them, but once the quagga mussel gets here you've already lost the fight," Trail told the House. House Majority Caucus Chairman Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, said boats are what carry the mussels into the waterways. "This is a user fee based on those people that come to the state of Idaho and also those people that use the bodies of water," he said. "I think it's an appropriate piece of legislation." The five "no" votes came from Reps. Clark, Kren, Jaquet, Moyle, and Smith(24). The bill now moves to the Senate.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to Eye On Boise
Eye On Boise

Short takes and breaking news from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.





Contact the Spokesman

Main switchboard:
(509) 459-5000
(800) 338-8801
(509) 459-5400
(800) 789-0029
Customer service:
(800) 338-8801