Boat exemption amendment survives Senate vote

Published online: May 25, 2010 News Beth Rosenberg - Trade Only Today
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The Brownback amendment, which would exempt boat, auto and RV dealers from the oversight of a new consumer financial protection agency, was supported by the Senate Monday in a "motion to instruct" - a non-binding vote that shows the majority of the Senate agrees with the amendment even though it's not part of the bill.

While this keeps alive the possibility of exclusion for boat dealers, there's still a long way to go before they are assured the exemption, Mat Dunn, legislative director of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, told Soundings Trade Only this morning.

The Senate voted 60-30 on the motion to instruct, Dunn said, calling it a "fairly significant" margin of passage.

However, the bill now heads to a conference committee to iron out differences in the House and Senate versions of the legislation and there's no guarantee the exemption will make the final cut.

The House version of the bill does include an exemption, but only for auto dealers.

"From a substantive and policy perspective, it would be inequitable and hard to argue that automotive dealers should be exempt, but boat and RV dealers should not be exempt," Dunn said. "The trick is for us to prevail upon the members of the Senate and House to include the expanded Brownback definition."

Dunn said the NMMA will work to identify an advocate in the conference committee and will remain aggressive on the issue. It was not immediately known which House and Senate members would be appointed to the committee.

Lawmakers hope to have a final bill ready for the President's signature before the July 4 recess, Dunn said.

- Beth Rosenberg

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