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Rafting bill faces uncertain waters ahead


House Bill 1188, the controversial proposal to allow rafting companies to cross through private property on historically established routes, is now in committee of the state Senate. (Read a February OTE post on it here). According to this Summit Daily News story, its chances of making it into law are slim, at least in part due to a small army of lobbyists fighting against the measure.

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Apparently, the property-rights hardliners are pumping a ton of money into the discussion. From Julie Sutor's SDN story:

"I'm hearing many rumors coming from the Senate that they're not going to get that bill out of committee," said state Rep. Christine Scanlan, bill co-sponsor. "I know they have upwards of 19 lobbyists working against the bill, which is kind of unbelievable."

The story goes on to quote Duke Bradford, owner of Arkansas Valley Adventures, who says private-property rights aren't what's being trampled:

"It comes down to privatizing your rivers and whether the public has a right to float. If there's a taking here, it's the public that's being taken from."

But as the commenter on the previous OTE post pointed out, this argument isn't necessarily about you and me: Private paddlers aren't covered by the bill.

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