A bill sponsored by a lake area legislator could become the first step in managing wakes on Lake of the Ozarks.
House Bill 1591, filed by State Representative David Wood (R-Versailles), was heard in committee earlier this week. The bill takes aim at reducing wakes and making lifejacket violations infractions.
Wood said there were a lot of negotiations with various lake area groups and representatives to reach some type of compromise that will have a chance of becoming law.
“The penalty provisions of the bill remain as infractions with a fine not to exceed $25 for life jacket and wake violations. The Water Division of the Missouri State Highway Patrol will develop rules concerning coves that are 800 feet or less at the junction to the main channel so that the residents may apply for a No Wake Cove designation. The No Wake in the larger coves will only apply to Class 3 boats which are over 40 feet in length,” Wood said.
Part of the negotiation was to limit the number of individuals that would testify on both sides of the bill so that it would make the hearing manageable. Wood said he had no doubt that those in support of wake restrictions could have filled the Capitol with property owners wanting to tell their stories.
“But we needed to move through the process with our limited time and space,” he said. “The hearing went very well and the bill should be voted out of the committee this week. I have also amended the legislation to a bill that should be headed to the Senate this week. I know that many people will say that this doesn’t go far enough and others that will say it goes too far but the fact is that this is a bill dealing with large wakes and it is moving through the process.”
Previous efforts by Wood to pass some type of regulation on wakes has failed.