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Invasive species fee increase for out-of-state boaters wins Senate nod, goes to governor

The Senate has voted 33-1 in favor of HB 211, to raise the invasive species sticker for out-of-state motorboat owners coming to Idaho from the current $22 to $30 on Jan. 1, 2018; Sen. Dan Foreman, R-Moscow, cast the only “no” vote. The stickers raise funds for Idaho’s effort to prevent fast-spreading invasive quagga or zebra mussels from taking hold in the state, largely funding inspection stations where potentially infested boats are inspected and, if necessary, cleaned. Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, said, “The threat of this is from out-of-state boaters. … I think raising the fee on out-of-staters is a very appropriate way to fund this cause.”

Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, noted that the Idaho Freedom Foundation rated the bill a “minus-one,” decrying the increase as a 36 percent hike and suggesting it “might well discourage nonresidents from coming to our state to use their watercraft.” Nonini said he found that “ironic,” and said if Idaho’s waterways are infested with the invasive mussels, no one will want to use them.

“How can they score something so positive and so helpful to the state of Idaho a negative-one when it should be a positive two or a positive three?” Nonini asked. “I think it’s a good piece of legislation. … I encourage your support.”

Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, said, “Scoring aside, it’s been interesting because we have support for these issues from across the spectrum.” The House-passed bill now moves to the governor’s desk.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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