NMMA’s Government Relations State division monitors legislation and regulatory issues in all 50 states, pursuing proactive goals and defending the marine industry against potentially harmful government initiatives.
This page provides frequent updates on legislation and regulatory actions that directly involve the recreational marine industry. Click on state name to learn about its key issues.
State Legislative and Regulatory Action: March - June 2014
Iowa Enacts Renewable Fuels Law, Promotes Development of Bio-Butanol Blended Gasoline
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad recently signed into law legislation (Senate File 2344) supporting the development of biobutanol and biobutanol-blended gasoline, which are next-generation biofuels. Iowa is one of the first states to specifically support the use of biobutanol. NMMA’s ongoing tests of isobutanol on marine engines have provided promising results. With oversight, from the U.S. Department of Energy and Argonne National Laboratory, the tests on marine engines operating on isobutanol-extended fuels have accumulated encouraging data on exhaust emissions, engine performance and durability. NMMA EMD member Jeff Wasil (BRP Evinrude), commented “It's great to see Iowa taking the lead on the development of an advanced biofuel that test data indicates is more compatible with marine engines and fuel systems" than ethanol. The law is effective immediately.
Connecticut Becomes 2nd State to Enact Uniform Titling
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy recently signed Public Act 14-63, enacting the Uniform Certificate of Title for Vessels Act (UCOTVA). The Governor’s action makes Connecticut the second state, following Virginia, to adopt UCOTVA. Connecticut did not previously require boats to be titled. The Uniform Law Commission wrote UCOTVA to provide states with a model act that brings boat titles on par with the protections and benefits provided by automobile titles for automobiles. Boat dealers, consumers, owners and the marine industry as a whole will greatly benefit from these changes. NMMA worked alongside the Connecticut Marine Trade Association, the National Marine Lenders Association, the International Association of Marine Investigators and BoatU.S., advocating for the bill's enactment. A goal of NMMA is for all states to adopt Uniform Titling. A uniform, seamless network of titling laws will facilitate interstate sales and transfers of boats, and give lending institutions more security and the ability to “perfect” loans on boats that do not qualify for USCG documentation. This law shall take effect on January 1, 2016.
Virginia Governor’s Veto Preserves Boater Education and Commitment to Safety
At the urging of NMMA, BoatU.S., Association of Marina Industries, Virginia Marine Trades Association and state boating safety organizations, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed legislation that would have gutted a portion of the state’s mandatory boating safety education law by exempting many boaters more than 45 years old from taking the state’s mandatory boater safety course. Stressing the importance of safety, Governor McAuliffe stated “I believe that the bill as passed endangers those Virginians who make use of public waterways.” NMMA applauds Governor McAuliffe for his commitment to maintaining safety on the waterways. Since the education requirement was enacted in 2007, the number of accidents has dropped significantly from an average of 119 to 64 in 2013, and fatalities have dropped from an average of 21 to 11 in 2013. NMMA supports mandatory boater education to improve on-water safety and make operators more confident of their skills while at the helm.
Florida Manufacturing Equipment Sales Tax Relief Goes Into Effect
Starting April 30, NMMA manufacturers in Florida no longer must pay sales tax on the purchase of manufacturing equipment, although there are some eligibility requirements. NMMA worked closely with Governor Rick Scott last year to get NMMA members to write letters to legislators supporting the legislation that led to the tax break. Gov. Scott made the tax change a top priority after recognizing that Florida was the only state on the Gulf Coast or Atlantic Seaboard that charged sales tax on major manufacturing equipment purchases. For specific information regarding the tax break, click here.
Louisiana Bill on Warranty Labor Rates Removes Threat of Fines for non-Compliance for Boat and Engine Manufacturers
An unenforced law in the state of Louisiana that requires manufacturers to submit warranty labor rates to the Louisiana Motor Vehicle Commission for approval would be deleted by a bill introduced at the request of NMMA by Louisiana Senator Daniel Martiny. The provision is redundant, as manufacturers already must pay an individual dealer’s retail labor rate for all warranty-related repairs. Enforcement would place boat and engine builder in jeopardy of fines for non-compliance. The legislation, Senate Bill 605, which is supported by the commission, would remove that potential threat of enforcement.
Missouri Passes Legislation to Encourage Recreational Boating and Promote Safety
The Missouri Legislature has passed a bill that will make it easier for non-residents and Missourians to rent boats. Senate Bill 785 creates a temporary boating safety education card for out-of-state renters, as well as expanding the one-time opportunity for state residents. The legislation supports the boating industry by making it easier for people to experience boating without the commitment required to take the state-required boating safety course. Boaters operating vessels that are not rented still must complete the mandatory safety course. NMMA's state GR experts worked with Missouri legislators and staff to advance the bill and submitted written testimony. NMMA supports mandatory boater education and this legislation not only aligns with our position, but also will promote recreational boating for residents and tourists; boost recreational boating and fishing retail sales; and provide funding for State Law Enforcement agencies. The bill has been sent to Governor Jay Nixon for his approval.