NASHVILLE — Legislation that would have imposed a fee on off-highway vehicles accessing public or private trails during large event periods in Scott County failed to advance out of committee on Monday.
Senate Bill 812, sponsored by State Sen. Ken Yager, R-Harriman, was defeated in the Senate Transportation & Safety Committee, where it faced its first test after being introduced last month.
The bill, which has a counterpart in the House of Representatives that is sponsored by State Rep. Kelly Keisling, R-Byrdstown, resulted from action by Scott County Commission late last year.
County Commission requested Yager and Keisling to seek a new state law that would tack an additional fee onto the registration of ATVs in Scott County. That registration, which is the result of a new state law that took effect Jan. 1, allows ATV owners to register their vehicles at a cost of $10, after which they can legally be ridden on most public roads, state and federal highways withstanding.
The new law was a roadblock for County Commission’s plans to ask the state legislature for a private act for a similar registration program that would be specific to Scott County. And because the new state law returned most of the registration fees to the state coffers, local leaders charged that there should be a way for local revenue to be collected in order to offset the costs incurred by local taxpayers during event weekends, such as Brimstone Recreation’s White Knuckle Event on Memorial Day weekend.
What resulted, though, was a bill that would have imposed a $10 permit fee for non-residents utilizing trails — even those on private property that are maintained by Brimstone — during event periods. Local residents would have been assessed a $4 fee. An event period was defined by the bill as being an attraction that would draw at least 5,000 participants over a seven-day period.
Yager told the Independent Herald earlier this month that the bill’s language was the result of a misinterpretation by Senate legal staffers, who are charged with authoring the bills, and that an amendment would be filed before the bill’s final consideration, which would change the bill’s language to reflect the resolution forwarded by County Commission.
No details were immediately available about Monday’s failed vote, including whether such an amendment was authored before the vote was taken.