Chalk up another well intentioned, but ill advised law from the legislature, causing outrage and disappointment among boaters. The lawmakers went overboard on this one.
The Ag Dept. convinced the lawmakers there is a threat of zebra mussel infestations in Idaho. Never mind none of the invasive little clams have been found in Idaho waters, like swine flu, we COULD have them and don’t want to miss a chance to play on the national stage. The clingy little shellfish clog intakes to power plants and pumps in the Great Lakes, costing millions in repairs and eradication efforts.
All the fee money goes to the The Idaho Agriculture Department, but the law mandates that Idaho Parks and Recreation sell the stickers. We hear that Parks had to pony up $65,000 for the stickers and administration in the wake of the new law. They are also swamped with calls from disgruntled skippers.
In their zeal to qualify “emergency funds” (like forest firefighting) the lawmakers declared an emergency and put the law into effect immediately–at the end of April. The Guv vetoed a bunch of bills in his political battle with the legislators, but he apparently missed the boat on the zebra mussel bill.
Parks people scrambled to manufacture the stickers which cost $10 for a motorboat, but the only place they can be purchased is at the Boise Headquarters or State Parks offices, causing near mutiny among boaters. Further confusing the issue is the enforcement duties fall on county sheriff’s marine deputies whose prime concern is safety.
Memorial Weekend boaters were warned in legacy TV news reports that tickets probably wouldn’t be issued for boaters without the sticker, but they wouldn’t be allowed to launch their watercraft.
The GUARDIAN solution: Forget about the sticker, simply add the fee to the cost of a boat registration. If a boat is already registered, let them float for free with no extra fee until next year.
Like swine flue, nobody wants zebra mussels. However, it is unreasonable to expect boaters who have dutifully registered their craft to come back and comply with an ill conceived law passed barely a month ago.
Tip for investors: look for companies and contractors who will build “cleaning stations” at the major boating areas.
Tip for entrepreneurs: offer the state “certified” zebra mussel inspectors who will sit in the sun at boat ramps during the summer.
Tip for retailers: offer to be a “vendor” for zebra stickers for 10% of the action.
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