PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING ANSWER TO THE LETTER I WROTE TO REPRESENTATIVE RICHARD BALL ON CANOE REGISTRATION:
Thank you for your e-mail. I was asked by one of my colleagues in the legislature to help with a package of bills concerning water and marine safety. These bills had been suggested by law enforcement personnel and the intent seemed reasonable. The bill I had in the package would have placed an obligation on owners of canoes and kayaks to obtain a registration decal similar to all other watercraft.
The cost was to be $5 for three years which certainly would not be a money maker for the State of Michigan. The two purposes were to provide a means that the owner of a canoe or kayak found drifting on a river or lake would be contacted to assure there had not been an accident and also to provide proof of ownership for a lost or stolen craft. These reasons seemed to be a good personal protection for a modest cost.
However, you, as the constituents who elected me and gave me the opportunity to serve you, had a very different opinion concerning this bill. You communicated your strong opposition to this bill with virtually all forms of written and verbal communication. The vast majority of these responses made a good case in opposing the bill . I carefully considered all of your comments.
As a result, I will not be sponsoring this bill and will vote against it if it ever comes to the House floor. I very much value your taking the time to voice your opinions on this issue or any issue.
Please remember that as a constituent, your thoughts are always welcome as I try to serve your best interests.
>>> <JayHanks@aol.com> 8/12/2010 4:52 PM >>>
Dear Representative Richard Ball:
It was with a bit of surprise when I heard of your proposed House Bill 6319. As an avid canoeist and kayaker since 1968 when I moved with my family to Michigan, I have yet to have ever seen a single canoe or kayak go floating by on the river without anyone in it.
Seriously, Mr. Ball, I have logged over 600 days on rivers, lakes and streams since I started keeping a record in 1976. I have never seen an empty boat floating down the river. I have seen people fall out and have to chase after it for a minute, but your scenario of someone standing helpless and cold on the side of river desperately needing assistance because they had an accident and their boat floated away is ridiculous.
I have run most of the major whitewater in the Eastern United States, canoed every significant river in the great State of Michigan, and extensively paddled northern Ontario, Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories. My passion for canoes and kayaks led me to help form the Lansing Oar and Paddle Club in 1987, of which I am the current President. I paddled with the late Verlen Kruger, and helped organize the recent Grand River Expedition 2010 this past July. Believe me when I tell you I have worn out paddles. I give safety lectures to the public through the Club every year. And still I have never seen an empty canoe or kayak go floating by.
Some will write to you about not wanting more government intrusion in their lives, the poor economy in the state, the negative impact on tourism and public relations, and it being just another tax.
Those are all valid reasons to withdraw HB 6319, but I will stand by my position that your premise is ridiculous.
All the best,
PO Box 353
Perry, MI 48872