Hunters looking to travel via water taxi may find it easier next year after Rep. Gary Knopp filed a bill this month creating exemptions for water taxi operators that already exist for air taxis.
The bill, HB 19, was introduced last year but didn’t make it through the session. Knopp said he reintroduced it this year in hopes of creating provisions for water taxis to provide transportation to hunters and their gear.
“People who fly aircraft have had exemptions for years,” Knopp said. “(The bill) does very little, but it keeps honest operators out of trouble.”
The bill exempts certain water taxi operators from regulation as transportation services by the Big Game Commercial Services Board.
Last year, there were concerns the bill would increase hunting in certain areas, but Knopp said it’s a non-issue and fish and wildlife experts regulate hunting accordingly.
Water taxis would not be allowed to charge a premium to hunters traveling with their gear, advertise their business as hunter transportation and the transportation of hunters cannot be incidental to their business.
“This keeps water taxi operators from sending loyal customers somewhere else,” Knopp said.
Knopp said the bill is not expected to have a large fiscal impact.