The Senate Transportation Committee has stalled a House bill that seeks to eliminate the pro-rating of licenses for recreational boats. While the additional cost to boaters within the state is estimated to be $50,000 annually, House Bill 492 became the subject of disagreement among committee members.
“This bill should use the words ‘certificate of number’ across the board with boat, ATV and snowmobile licenses,” said Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, committee chair, “I propose we send this for amending.” On a voice vote the committee agreed to do so.
David Clairborne of the Idaho ATV Association did not share Brackett’s concerns about the language. “The bill makes reference to ‘certificate of number’ and ‘number of certificate,’ both. I think we all know what it means. It means the number on the vehicle registration sticker. Our association supports this bill and so does the boating community. I appreciate the desire to amend this language and I would support that, but I think the bill is fine as it is.”
“I have one concern about this,” Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, said. “The bill proposes changing a pro-rated boat registration so you pay a full year even if you only need the registration for part of the year. We just went the other direction last year with recreational vehicles and changed the statute so you pay for what you use. Why are we working backwards here with boats?”
“We did do what you are proposing for the licensing of on-road motorcycles,” Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian. “But we did not do this for ATVs and UTVs, and not for boats, either. Everyone, including the boating community, wanted everything to be consistent with ATVs, UTV’s and boats. So this is how we chose to amend the statute.”
“Well, if we’re going to be consistent, let’s consistently go in the direction of charging people for what they use, and not charging them for what they don’t use,” Rice replied. “That’s the right thing to do, it’s the appropriate thing to do.”