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House passes boat-licensing plan

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A controversial bill that would require motorboat operators to obtain a driver's license narrowly passed the House and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB4 would require motorboat drivers to be licensed and possibly lose both it and their license to drive a car if caught driving drunk on a waterway.

Boat operators would have to renew their licenses every five years. They would also be subject to drunk-driving statutes.

The vote and the debate Tuesday was split over arguments of safe waterways and heavy-handed regulation.

Rep. Tom Hatch, R-Panguitch, said the bill won't make the waterways any safer in practice. "This is an example of some people not being able to control others so they want us to do it," he said.

Sponsor Rep. Loraine Pace, R-Logan, said the state already has the driver's license connected to the safety of off-road vehicles, "so we're not headed into new territory here."

She reminded fellow lawmakers that in 1933 there were 41 members of the House who voted against having a driver's license for automobiles.