GET INVOLVED PEOPLE:
It's still not over, I'd suggest everyone contacting these reps mentioned below and letting them know your true feelings. The SMLA is using "non-profit funds" to pay for this legislative attack. Funds from other powerboaters who don't support the cause of this "lake community" association. I'm sure no powerboaters expected their money was going to go towards getting them removed from SML. They are also posting survey results to a survey that had less than a 50% reply. ???
S.M.L.A SENDS REPRESENTATIVES TO RICHMOND
On Monday, January 16th, a delegation from the Smith Mountain Lake Association, lead by its President Bruce Dungan, met with State Representatives in Richmond. The purpose of the visit was to meet face-to-face with local legislators to impress upon them, the views of the Lake Association regarding water safety at Smith Mountain Lake . and to urge them to implement the recommendations of Smith Mountain Lake Water Safety Task Force.
SMLA representatives were asking for State legislation to cover all inland waterways in the Commonwealth and, for emphasis, they were joined in the State Capitol by Bill Hayden, President of Lake Anna's Lake Association and Pete Dechaines of Lake Gaston's Lake Association. Mr. Deschaines was accompanied by John Slaton, also of the Lake Gaston Association.
All three lakes have similar concerns regarding Boater Education, Speed, noise enforcement thus, all three Lake Associations went looking for help from Richmond.
Government officials, while not in formal session because of the Martin Luther King holiday, were in their offices and for the most part willing and ready to meet the delegation. SMLA met twice with Allen Dudley (R) Delegate from Franklin County. The first meeting was to re-emphasize general concerns of the Lake Community and to discuss his pending bill which asks for a 35 mph night time speed limit on SML. The second meeting was to request an amendment to the bill [SIZE=3]to include daytime speed limits on SML and lakes Statewide. [/SIZE]
The meeting with Kathy Byron, delegate from Bedford was informative, interactive and congenial and all three Lake representatives felt she had listened well and taken their concerns seriously. Delegate Byron has introduced a bill asking for mandatory State wide Boater Education. The Lake group took the opportunity to further educate the Delegate on speed and noise concerns, leaving with her, a package of research material covering those subjects.
In a thirty minute discussion with Senator Charles Hawkins, the Lake Association representatives found Senator Hawkins both amenable and encouraging in his view that water safety concerns had to be addressed.
They were well received by both Danny Marshall Delegate from Danville and newly-elected Delegate Shannon Valentine from Lynchburg.
Late Monday afternoon a frank and informative discussion was held with Sherry Crumley, Chair of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Colonel Gerald Massengail of DGIF and Colonel Mike Bise and Charlie Sledd of the Department. The SMLA delegation believe that common ground is being reached with DGIF with regard to water safety issues on Smith Mountain Lake.
Delegate Lacey Putney from Bedford County was unwell and not in his office so unable to meet with the group. Senator Steve Newman was not available.
At different times during the day, Lake Gaston and Lake Anna representatives were able to meet with representatives from their areas.
According to Bruce Dungan, the day was time well spent, meeting and putting a face on the Lake and its concerns and being able to sit down and talk one-one-one with legislators. He feels that SMLA and its Lake partners were heard and is confident that the Lake and its problems will not be dismissed.
Dungan advised that there are a number of bills relating to water safety pending before the Legislature. These bills have been introduced by Senator Newman and Delegates Byron and Dudley. These bills will go to sub-committee very soon and SMLA is urging its membership and members of the public to phone, e-mail or write their legislator in support of the proposed legislation. Information on how to do this is available at the Association's website www.smlassociation.org