Children fishing rods have become a major issue for many states after a California state lawmaker introduced a bill to require them to be inspected for safety.
The bill passed the Assembly and is now heading to the Senate, where it faces stiff opposition from a group of state lawmakers who argue that the new law is not necessary because the fishing industry has been adequately regulated and that more regulations would simply be a waste of money.
“There is no need for more fishing rods,” Sen. Jeff Stone, a Republican from Los Angeles, said in a statement Monday.
“I think there is enough safety equipment already in place to keep the kids safe.”
But California Assemblyman David Chiu, who introduced the bill, said that he has not seen enough data to make a recommendation on whether the fishing rod inspection bill should be passed.
“I am not sure that we have the data that can answer the question of whether fishing rods are more dangerous than other fishing equipment,” Chiu said.
Assemblyman Ed Hernandez, a Democrat from San Diego, said the bill would be a “game changer” if passed.
“It will make fishing safer for all of us,” Hernandez said.
California lawmakers passed a bill earlier this year that required children under 14 to wear a safety net, a device that catches debris and keeps it away from children, and it also requires that all fishing equipment be inspected annually by a licensed fishing company.
The new bill requires all fishing rod manufacturers to have safety inspection programs in place.
The Assembly and Senate bills are similar in that they both would require that a licensed manufacturer of fishing rods and line be inspected every five years.
But the bills differ in that the Senate bill requires the agency to certify that the rods have not been modified or altered, while the Assembly bill requires inspection annually.
In addition, the bills would require fishing operators to report the presence of children on fishing boats, as well as any incidents involving child abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
In a statement, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said it is aware of the Senate proposal and has already begun reviewing the Assembly measure.
It also said it has already received complaints about the Senate version of the bill.
“We’re always reviewing the bill and we will continue to review it closely to ensure we have it in the best interest of our state,” the agency said.
“We look forward to working with Assembly members on a bipartisan basis to get this right.”
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