A Missouri senator who serves on the Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill is frustrated that his duck boat legislation remains stuck in the Commerce Committee.

Missouri State Highway Patrol crews assist the U.S. Coast Guard during the duck boat recovery efforts on July 23, 2018 (file photo courtesy of the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Twitter page)

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R) says the bill is bottled up in committee. The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation is chaired by U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi.

“I think the time has probably come to try and force it out of committee and for me to go to the (U.S. Senate) floor and to try and pass it myself,” Hawley says.

His legislation, called the Duck Boat Safety Enhancement Act, would require the U.S. Coast Guard to implement recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), including requiring duck boats to remove canopies. 17 people were killed in the July 2018 duck boat tragedy on southwest Missouri’s Table Rock Lake.

During a Thursday interview with Missourinet, Senator Hawley says he’s trying to prevent a repeat of the deadly 2018 tragedy. He also indicates his patience is wearing thin, saying he’s ready to go to the floor.

“And if there’s not movement in coming days on the bill, that’s exactly what I will do. I will go to the floor of the United States Senate and I will seek unanimous consent to have this bill passed, and then we’ll have to see who objects to it,” says Hawley.

Hawley’s legislation would also require amphibious passenger vessels to be equipped to stay afloat, in the event of flooding. It would also impose new security requirements on every single duck boat, in Missouri and nationally. It would also require new reporting efforts.

The bill was one of the first filed by Senator Hawley, after he was sworn-in. It’s very similar to legislation filed by Hawley’s predecessor, former U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D). Her bill also was stuck in committee.

17 of the 31 people aboard the boat called Stretch Duck 7 died, after a storm with 70 mile-per-hour winds came through. The NTSB says the Coast Guard’s failure to require sufficient design of amphibious vessels contributed to the boat’s sinking.

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