Bill Seeks to Increase Penalties for Boating Fatalities

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Montgomery, Ala.

The Alabama Legislature is trying to increase the penalties for alcohol-related boating deaths to the same as deaths caused by drunken car drivers. The Senate voted 18-1 Thursday for a bill to equalize the penalties.

The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Bryan Taylor of Prattville, says a drunken boater should be held equally responsible to a drunk driver. The senator has Lake Jordan and part of Lake Martin in his district. He says the bill stems from fatal accidents on those lakes.

The House voted 83-0 Thursday for a similar bill by Republican Rep. Paul Beckman of Prattville. Beckman's bill goes to the Senate for consideration and Taylor's bill goes to the House. One of the bills must pass both chambers to become law.