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PA House passed House Bill 1003 – Safety and Marking of Low-Head Dams

The House passed House Bill 1003, as amended, today by a vote of 194-0

The will now goes to the PA Senate for its consideration.

  • House Bill 1003 (Gillespie-R) amends Title 30 (Fish) to allow the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to directly issue citations to owners who fail to mark their dams. It also amends the definition of run-of-the-river dam.

 

  • Specifically, it requires/enforces the marking of new and existing “run-of-the-river” dams above and below the dam and on the banks immediately adjacent to the dam with signs and buoys.  The signs and buoys are of a design and content determined by the PA Fish & Boat Commission to warn the swimming, fishing and boating public of the hazards posed by the dam.

 

  • Using the grading of offenses in § 923, any person who fails to mark new or existing run-of-the river dams commits a summary offense of the first degree ($250 fine or up to 90-days in jail) for the first offense and a misdemeanor of the third degree ($250 to $5,000 fine or up to 90-days in jail).

 

  • Similarly, with respect to maintenance of signs and buoys, any person who fails to comply commits a summary offense of the second degree ($150 or up to 20-days in jail) for the first offense and a summary offense of the first degree ($250 or up to 90-days in jail) for any subsequent offense.

 

  • The bill was amended to clarify that the provisions of 18 Pa.C.S. (relating to crimes and offenses) and section 923 (relating to classification of offenses and penalties), insofar as they relate to imprisonment for convictions of summary and misdemeanor offenses, are not applicable to this section.

 

  • Finally, the definition of “Run-of-the-river dam” is also being revised under this proposal.  The revised definition would still apply to a dam regulated by DEP, but is amended to say built across a “watercourse and certain flows pass” over the entire dam structure, excluding abutments, to a natural channel downstream.  It also add the caveat that DEP determines the dam to have hydraulic characteristics such that at certain flows persons may be caught in the hydraulic roller (boil) immediately below the dam.

 

  • Status:  House Game and Fisheries, 4/2/2019 – Reported, 6/10/2019 – 1st Consideration, 6/10/2019 – Re-referred to House Rules, 6/10/2019 – Reported, 9/17/2019 – 2nd consideration with amendment, 1/14/2020 – Re-referred to Appropriations, 1/14/2020 – Re-reported, 1/15/2020 – Passed House, 194-0, 1/15/2020

 

The will now goes to the PA Senate for its consideration.

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