LRA update on House Bill 121 - April 2023
In the 2023 Georgia Legislative Session, HB 121 was passed by the Georgia Legislature and is expected to be signed by Governor Kemp. HB 121 provides an expanded 200-foot buffer for wake surf and wakeboarding activities on all public lakes in Georgia. Its passage represents hard work and compromise by our Rep. Victor Anderson, Sen. John Kennedy, our Water Safety Committee (WSC) chaired by Pat Hickey, the Lake Burton Civic Association, the Georgia DNR, boating industry trade associations, and other groups to address water safety and property damage resulting from large wakes. You will recall that last fall, the LRA Trustees unanimously adopted a water safety resolution authorizing support for legislation establishing a 200-foot wake surfing buffer.
The Lake Burton Civic Association (LBCA) adopted a resolution similar to ours. Together we met with our legislators to show the need for this regulation and to solicit their support. Primarily in line with our resolution(s), Rep. Anderson sponsored a bill in the Georgia House, and in March 2023 HB 121 was passed by the Georgia Assembly. Rep. Anderson and Sen. John Kennedy were instrumental supporters of this effort and sponsors of the legislation, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for their support and expertise in guiding HB 121 through the legislative process. The legislation is a compromise solution that balances the needs of many different constituencies. We will closely monitor the effectiveness of HB 121 and LRA’s related educational programs on the wake surfing situation on our lake.
I am pleased that HB 121 was approved by the Georgia Legislature and that we were able to collaborate with the LBCA on this issue. Under the outstanding leadership of Pat Hickey, our WSC represented the entire lake community and worked tirelessly to produce an outcome that would improve safety on our lake and address concerns regarding property damage. Once the Governor signs, HB 121 will take effect on July 1, 2023. The LRA will provide educational materials regarding the impact of HB 121 on our lake, including a map showing the increased buffer, and will have a discussion of HB 121 at the Memorial Day meeting. As always, your LRA executive committee and members of the WSC are available to answer questions regarding HB 121.
See you on the lake,