A Three Hour Tour

That would probably be too long for this lawsuit to survive.  

A few owners of big, fast boats and a dealer of big, fast boats are suing to prevent enforcementof the recently enacted law prohibiting big, fast boats from several area lakes.

The stated reason for the law:

The Legislature this spring banned from Lake Martin, Lake Harris and Weiss Lake large houseboats and boats that can run faster than 60 mph and that are 26 feet, 11 inches or longer.

The law was enacted to reduce pollution from houseboats and prohibit large speedboats from creating wakes that damage shorelines and docks, said Rep. Richard Laird, the Roanoke Democrat who sponsored the bill.

That reason is a load of the same stuff Rep. Laird supposedly fears houseboats will dump into the lake. The real reason is that the law puts big money in the hands of a few developers.

Regardless, this suit is going nowhere. I suppose they will argue that the law is arbitrary. That will fail because there is a rational basis for the law, even if that was not the actual basis for the law.

This plaintiff’s attempt to say otherwise is just stupid: 

But Robert Nelems of Nelems Marine, which sells big boats and faces large sales losses because of the law, said that logic makes little sense.

“By their logic, you can’t go down to your local dealer and buy a new Corvette because it will exceed the speed limit,” said Nelems, whose Jasper company is a plaintiff in the lawsuit. “There are plenty of laws that have been on the books for years that take care of loud boats, fast boats, reckless-driving boats, big boats, boats that pollute with sewage and boats that make wakes.”

You know what? Ignoring commerce clause issues, if Alabama wanted to ban corvettes, they could ban corvettes. Niether that nor the the boat ban may be wise, but it is certainly rational. Houseboats dump waste and speedboats make wake, and noise. Sure, they could have just banned those particular offenses, but banning all the offenders saves money on enforcement and totally eliminates the problem. 

I just hope the attorney has a better argument. Maybe somewhere in the Alabama constitution’s five million amendments there is a right to operate a speed boat on Alabama lakes. If not, this suit is sunk.  

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Explore posts in the same categories: Alabama Legislature, The Environment, Trials

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