|In the near future, I will be introducing legislation that seeks to amend the Fish and Boat Code (Title 30) in the following areas of public safety, customer service, and penalties:
- Allows the PFBC to issue summary citations for failure to mark or maintain signage at run-of-the-river dams rather than the current inefficient and ineffective utilization of the civil penalty forfeiture process.There are presently 308 run-of-the-river dams that have been identified by the Department of Environmental Protection.Since 1999, the Commission has enforced marking requirements for these dams utilizing the civil penalty forfeiture process contained in the Commission’s regulations at 58 Pa. Code §§ 51.101 – 51.109.This process has not been efficient or successful in gaining compliance with the marking requirements.This proposed change simplifies the process and allows for timely issuance of summary citations for failure to mark dams or failure to maintain required signage.Public safety will be improved by moving to this proposed enforcement tool.
- Provides consistency with driving under the influence (DUI) language in the Vehicle Code for boating under the influence (BUI), including technical changes, use of Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD), and penalties for having a minor on the boat.
- Provides for consistency with the Vehicle Code by adding a category of aggravated assault by watercraft.
- Reduces the penalty for not having a boating education certificate onboard while operating a boat so it is no longer the same as the penalty for having not taken the course at all.Currently, the penalty for not having a boating safety education certificate onboard while operating a boat is the same as not taking the course at all, i.e., not having a certificate.This approach is inconsistent with other sections of the Fish and Boat Code.For example, the penalty for fishing without a license is greater than the penalty for failure to display.
- Deletes reference to capacity plates since the PFBC no longer issues them.
- Provides consistency with the Crimes Code and the Game and Wildlife Code by allowing the PFBC to collect restitution for damage to its property.
- Provides consistency with the Crimes Code by allowing restitution for disposal of discarded items (e.g., abandoning a boat) in addition to littering penalties that can be assessed.Currently, if someone discards large items such as a boat on someone else’s property, the most they can be cited for is a summary offense of the second degree, and it is up to the court to order clean up or restitution.