Bill would limit Ohio law enforcement’s boat stops

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A bill passed by the Ohio House would keep law enforcement officers from stopping pleasure boats without a specific cause.

The “Boater Freedom Act” dictates that a boat can be stopped and boarded by law enforcement only if there is a “reasonable suspicion” that the vessel or its operator are breaking the law.

Currently, a boater on Lake Erie, for example, may be stopped randomly by a state watercraft officer, local marine patrol, or the U.S. Coast Guard to conduct safety checks.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Rex Damschroder of Fremont, said his constituents have said random stops without probable cause are “an intrusive and time-consuming burden.”

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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