Governors sign boating bills into law

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and Vermont Gov. James Douglas both signed into law bills that will impact their respective state’s boating communities this week.

Gov. Christ signed four economic-development bills designed to “help create jobs, encourage economic growth and improve the standard of living for Florida’s families,” including House Bill 7031, which involves the sales and use tax on boats.

“Today, we are helping reignite Florida’s economy through legislation that empowers businesses and creates new opportunities for families to be successful in their communities and their careers,” said Gov. Crist in a statement yesterday.

House Bill 7031, Economic Development, which was sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Carroll, Sen. Rudy Garcia and the Senate Commerce Committee, allows non-residents who purchase a boat in Florida, or bring a boat into Florida for repair or alteration, to remain in the state 180 days before becoming liable for the sales and use tax. Currently, the tax applies after 90 days.

“Allowing boat owners and their guests to remain in Florida waters will stimulate Florida’s marine industry, as well as stimulate businesses that support the marine industry,” the Florida Governor’s Press Office reported in a statement.

The boating law signed by Gov. Douglas yesterday will give Vermont law enforcement the authority to board boats and other water vessels to ensure the vehicles have proper permits and safety equipment, according to an article in the Times Argus. This will help eliminate the divide between cops patrolling those bodies of water shared by Vermont and New York as police officials in New York state have similar authority, according to the newspaper.

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