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Article posted: 10/21/2013 7:57 PM

Morrison says drunk boating penalties need to be 'massaged'

By Mike Riopell

State Sen. Julie Morrison said Monday she'll continue to work on changes to her proposals to require motorboat operators be certified and to stiffen penalties for drunken boaters.

"They need to be sculpted, amended, massaged, tailored," the Deerfield Democrat said.

A third plan would require a person being towed behind a boat to display a flag.

Morrison's efforts have been the subject of some boaters' ire, particularly many who frequent the Chain O' Lakes and think some of Morrison's ideas are too harsh.

She held a hearing at the Capitol Monday similar to one this summer in Lake County to continue to gather input. Her push was inspired by the boating accident death of 10-year-old Tony Borcia of Libertyville -- her nephew.

Earlier this year, Morrison won approval for a new law that could take the driver's license away from a drunken boater involved in a fatal accident.

David Hatyina, who was driving the boat that struck Tony after the boy fell off an inner tube, was found to have had alcohol and cocaine in his system. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Attending Monday's hearing was Chip Collopy, owner of Shoreline Sightseeing in Chicago, who suggested better-trained boaters could make life easier on professional drivers who share the waters with recreational craft.

"We think the more education the better for any boater," Collopy said.

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