Saturday, December 8, 2012
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Gwinnett Daily Post
BUFORD -- While summer days on the lake may seem like a distant memory, the deadly 2012 season has lawmakers focused on Georgia's biggest drinking water and recreation source this winter.
Legislators who live along Lake Lanier's boundaries began meeting this fall to study issues at the man-made body of water, after several summer accidents turned to tragedy. Plus, drought has drained the lake to levels that haven't been seen since 2009.
Earlier this year, Gov. Nathan Deal said the death of two Gwinnett brothers in a boating accident has him backing an amendment that would match boating under the influence limits to driving under the influence levels, and Buford Sen. Renee Unterman who is heading the caucus, said other regulations are under discussion. Those could include talks of mandatory boating education and licensure.
During a recent hearing, she said, the board learned that the state is in the top five for boat thefts and people often cross state lines to avoid paying sales tax. The group also learned that after a recent altercation there are no state laws protecting federal rangers.
Unterman has planned two town hall meetings for Saturday in an attempt to get feedback from the public on those issues and other possible regulations before any bills are written for the General Assembly, which goes into session in January.
The first will be held from 10:30 to noon at the ballroom of the Gainesville Civic Center. Another session will begin at 1 p.m. at Buford City Hall.