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The Legislative Process: Boating Safety in Georgia

February 22, 2013
Woman watching boats pass by.

This post is the first in a series examining the process of introducing, debating, amending and voting on a bill. We’re working closely with the state Senate Press Office to follow Senate Bill 136, which addresses issues of public safety on waterways. SB 136 was filed on February 8th.

To combat several incidences of boating while intoxicated on Lake Lanier recently, Governor Nathan Deal and several state legislators are working to strengthen public safety on the waterways.

Governor Deal proposed a boating under the influence law in his State of the State address last month, explaining, "If you are too drunk to drive an automobile, you are too drunk to drive a boat." Filing Senate Bill 136 earlier this month, Senators Butch Miller, Renee Unterman and others took the first strides to address the issue. SB 136 calls for the "Jake and Griffin BUI Law," remembering two brothers killed when a drunk boater collided with their family's pontoon.

The bill would lower the state's legal intoxication limit for Georgia boaters from .10 to .08, making it the same as the limit for operating a motor vehicle on the state's roadways. The bill would also increase penalties for those caught boating drunk to a felony if a person is convicted four or more times.

Along with its tribute to Jack and Griffin Prince, the legislation remembers 11-year-old Kile Glover, who passed after an accident with a jet ski. The "Kile Glover Boat Education Law" seeks to place age limits on those who can drive boats and requires that children under the age of 13 wear life jackets when they are on a moving open boat. SB 136 also aims to provide greater public protection by lowering the legal intoxication limit for hunters to .08.

The bill is expected to go to the Senate Natural Resources and the Environment Committee next week. Check back with us as we continue to follow this bill through the legislative process.

About the Author

Sunita Kapahi writes about education, public safety, social services, and transportation for GeorgiaGov. She is an Atlanta native and a graduate of Georgia State University.