STATEHOUSE-House Bill 1082, authored by Rep. Sean Eberhart (R-Shelbyville), passed the House by a vote of 80-14. It would exempt off-road vehicles (snowmobiles, ATVs, etc.) owned and operated for use by the state, municipalities and volunteer fire departments from registering with the DNR. All other off-road vehicles are still required to register with the DNR.
DNR off-road registration is $30 and is valid for three years. The registration fees are collected into the off-road vehicle and snowmobile fund and managed by the DNR. The funds are used to pay for operating expenses related to DNR properties where off-road vehicles are used, such as trails.
"I supported this bill because it targets the registration fee to only the people who use them," said Rep. Dick Dodge (R-Pleasant Lake). "If state agencies and public municipalities are paying the fees, those fees are being paid for by Hoosier taxpayers-many of whom have never been on an off-road vehicle."
On the bill's second reading on the House Floor, Rep. Win Moses (D-Fort Wayne) attempted to amend the bill so the off-road vehicle and snowmobile fund can only be used for the fund's dedicated purposes-the money cannot be transferred into the general fund or anywhere else for any purpose. This amendment failed by a vote of 42-54. Rep. Dodge voted against Rep. Moses' amendment, along with 53 other House legislators.
"I did not vote to transfer LARE funds to any other state account," said Rep. Dodge. "Currently, the LARE fund is frozen. Funds are still being collected but because of the severity of the economic recession, LARE's funding allocation was halted."
The LARE fund supports three things:
House Bill 1082 did not include LARE money. LARE funding will continue to be collected for projects to enhance our rivers, lakes and streams.
"The LARE fund was never voted on," said Rep. Dodge. "I love our fresh waters. I take great pride in our community and how we respect and cherish our waters. I have always pledged and continue to pledge to do whatever I can to protect not only our local, but our state's natural resources.
House Bill 1082 will next be heard and voted on in the Senate.