Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release:
May 18, 2006
Senator Kenneth Corn
Senator Todd Lamb
Kyle Williams Bill Wins Final Senate Approval
Senate Bill 1495, known as the Kyle Williams Boating
Safety Education Act, is one step closer to becoming law. That’s
after winning final Senate approval Thursday afternoon. The legislation
is named for 12 year old Kyle Williams of Edmond, who died as a
result of a jet ski accident in August 2004.
Currently, Oklahoma law simply states that a person must be at least
12 years old to operate a jet ski, but there are no additional educational
requirements. SB 1495 would require those between the ages of 12
and 16 to complete a boater safety education course and be supervised
by an adult.
The measure is authored by Sen. Kenneth
Corn, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on
Public Safety and Judiciary, and Sen. Todd
Lamb, who is a neighbor of the Williams family and represents
them in the Senate.
“I am confident this legislation will help us save lives and
I want to thank all our fellow members who helped us by supporting
this legislation,” said Corn, D-Poteau.
Corn said Oklahoma is one of only eight states that does not require
some kind of boating education for teens and children, even though
80 percent of fatalities on the water happen when the operator hasn’t
had any boater education.
Boating education courses are currently available free of charge
through the Department of Public Safety, so the bill would not require
any additional appropriation of tax dollars.
The legislation also includes a fine of up to $100 for a first offense
and up to $500 for a second offense for any parent or other supervising
adult that allows a child between 12 and 16 to operate a jet ski
without having completed the required boater safety course.
“Our heart goes out to the Williams family for their loss,
but we’re grateful that they and the families and friends
of other accident victims were willing to come to the Capitol to
work for passage of this measure,” said Lamb, R-Edmond.
Sue Williams, Kyle’s mother, said she and her husband were
very excited after the Senate vote and hopeful it would be approved
by the House on Friday. The memory of the tragedy is always with
the Williams, and it is something they want to help other families
avoid through the passage of SB 1495.
“Its one of those things that never goes away,” Williams
said. “We don’t want to see it on the news again where
it’s a repeat of what happened.”
The measure now moves to the House of Representatives for final
consideration before being sent to Gov. Brad Henry.
For more information, contact:
Senate Communication's Office: (405) 521-5774