Legislation Extending BUI Chemical Testing to Non-motorized Vessels Passes First Committee

Legislation will pass the Senate Public Safety Committee today to amend California's Boating Under the Influence [BUI] law that authorizes an officer to request a person arrested for BUI to submit to chemical testing.

SB 1247 [Gaines] would delete the requirement that the vessel be mechanically propelled.

Following is the author's stated rationale for the measure [from the policy committee analysis]:

"The Harbors and Navigation Code contains no definition of "machinery" and a vague definition of "mechanically propelled." California Boating Law gives an officer authority to request the operator of a "mechanically propelled vessel" submit to the chemical testing of their blood, breath, or urine if lawfully arrested for operating a vessel or other equipment while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.  The problem is an operator of a 30-foot sailboat with no motor, operating under sail at 20 knots, with an BAC level .10% stopped for a boating violation and arrested can refuse the officer's request for a chemical test since there is question as to whether the sailboat is a "mechanically propelled vessel.”

"Law enforcement should be able ask an arrested person to provide a chemical test of an operator of a sailing craft that could cause major damage, injure someone, or cause death.  Boating officers are under the assumption that a sail is "machinery" just as an "oar" is for a canoe or kayak.  There is a lack of clarity as to whether operators of vessels or craft using a sail, paddle, etc. can be asked to submit to chemical testing. Sailing vessels with or without motors piloted by a person under the influence create a safety issue for all boaters."

SB 1247 next proceeds

The measure is sponsored by the California State Sheriffs’ Association.

 

RBOC Supporting Measure to Clarify BUI Law

RBOC is supporting AB 1829 [Levine] that would clarify current law pertaining to boating under the influence [BUI] as the measure is considered in the Senate Committee on Public Safety.

RBOC supports the provisions of AB 1829 that would conform the advisement provisions of the Penal Code related to BUI, to existing provisions in the Harbors and Navigation Code. 

The measure would amend Harbors and Navigation Code Section 655.1. The revision would clarify that an officer who arrests a person on suspicion of operating a vessel or watercraft while under the influence shall inform the person that:

  • He or she may be charged with a crime,
  • He or she has the right to refuse chemical testing, and
  • The officer has the authority to seek a search warrant to compel a blood draw if the person refuses to submit to, or fails to complete, a blood test.

This provision would replace the obsolete provision in the current law. That provision requires an officer to inform a person arrested for a BUI that his or her refusal to submit to, or failure to complete, the required chemical testing may be used against the person in a court of law and that the court may impose increased penalties for that refusal or failure, upon conviction. Neither of those statements is accurate.

AB 1829 has already passed the Assembly. The measure is sponsored by the California State Sheriffs' Association.
 

 

Governor Signs Marine Debris Legislation

California Governor Jerry Brown today signed into law the RBOC-supported AB 1323 [Frazier].

The measure will enhance the removal of marine debris from the state's waterways.

The bill provides authority for any state, county, city, or other public agency having jurisdiction over a given location, or having authority to remove marine debris or solid waste, to remove and destroy marine debris that is floating, sunk, partially sunk, or beached in or on a public waterway, beach, or on state tidelands or submerged lands, subject to specific conditions:

  1. The marine debris meets the definition provided in the Harbors and Navigation Code and the value of the debris does not exceed the cost of removal and disposal.
  2. If the debris cannot be identified as belonging to an individual, a peace officer or authorized public employee securely attaches to the marine debris a notice stating that the marine debris shall be removed by the public agency if not claimed or removed within 10 days.
  3. If the debris can be identified as belonging to an individual, a 10-day notice is attached to the marine debris, and sent to the owner of the marine debris, if known, at the owner's address of record with the Department of Motor Vehicles, by certified or first-class mail. 
  4. The marine debris is not removed prior to the ten day notification period.

RBOC-supported Marine Debris Legislation Passes Senate Judiciary Committee

RBOC-supported AB 1323 [Frazier, D-Oakley] to enhance the removal of marine debris from the state's waterways will pass the Senate Committee on the Judiciary following today's hearing in the Capitol. The measure next proceeds to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.

This legislation would provide authority for any state, county, city, or other public agency having jurisdiction over a given location, or having authority to remove marine debris or solid waste, to remove and destroy marine debris that is floating, sunk, partially sunk, or beached in or on a public waterway, beach, or on state tidelands or submerged lands, subject to specific conditions:

  1. The marine debris meets the definition provided in the Harbors and Navigation Code and the value of the debris does not exceed the cost of removal and disposal.
  2. If the debris cannot be identified belonging to an individual, a peace officer or authorized public employee securely attaches to the marine debris a notice stating that the marine debris shall be removed by the public agency if not claimed or removed within 10 days.
  3. If the debris can be identified as belonging to an individual, a 10-day notice is attached to the marine debris, and sent to the owner of the marine debris, if known, at the owner's address of record with the Department of Motor Vehicles, by certified or first-class mail. 
  4. The marine debris is not removed prior to the ten day notification period.