New Directions for Legislation (Lawrence Tucker)
Wow, that was a great International Snowmobile Congress that I had the pleasure of attending in Sturbridge. The variety of educational seminars, the setting at the Sturbridge Hotel and the grooming display and information available all made this one of the premier congress’s I have attended. I would like to ask you all to join me in giving a big thank you to Rena Sumner, Dan Gould, Henry Gillet (or was that really Ben Franklin), Randy Toth and all the volunteers who helped make this happen. During the congress there was much to report that was positive for our sport from across the Snowbelt.
But, you might ask, “What is there to report for our legislation in Massachusetts?” As I conveyed in the November 2011 issue of On The Trails With SAM, there are nine bills potentially affecting our sport in the current session (January 2011-December 2012). During 2011 the legislature had passed 226 bills into law and by the conclusion of July 2012, the governor had signed a $32.5 billion dollar state budget and the legislature had passed an additional 209 bills. By all accounts this was an unusually busy legislative session.
By mid-2011, most of our bills had hearings and our SAM bill #H00238 (An Act relative to the registration of antique snowmobiles) had been reported favorably out of committee. In early 2012, the Committee on Natural Resources had also taken four SAM bills and combined them into #H3941. The legislature created #H3941 when it combined:
#H00237–An Act establishing a snowmobile educational safety program,
#H00239–An Act to further define snow vehicle,
#H01153–An Act relative to the Department of Recreation and Conservation Board of Stewardship,
#H01993–An Act establishing a snow vehicle land stamp program.
In July 2012, the committee on Natural Resources favorably reported this bill out to the legislature and gave it the new number of #H4359. We are hopeful that the legislature will continue to give attention to #H4359–An Act establishing a snowmobile educational safety program.
To come this far with our SAM legislation is quite an accomplishment and, hopefully, by the time you read this more will have happened. But, to come this far, we must recognize the hard work by the legislators that are making this happen. It is the extra effort put forth by Representative Anne M. Gobi (D) Spencer that has brought our SAM bills down to the “one-yard line.”
If you are a snowmobiler in Massachusetts or, in particular, if you live in Rep. Gobi’s district consisting of the towns of Ware, Barre, Brookfield, Hardwick, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Petersham, Phillipston, West Brookfield, Spencer or Templeton would you please join me in giving a big thank you to Anne by calling her office at 617-722-2210 or by email at Anne.Gobi@mahouse.gov.
And remember; snowmobilers are environmentalists.