Bills in House and Senate would equalize penalties for drunken boaters

      The StateLegislature wants to increase the penalties for alcohol related boating deaths,making the penalties the same as motor vehicle deaths where alcohol isinvolved.

      On Thursdaythe Senate voted 18 - 1 in favor of a bill that would equalize the penalties.Republican Senator Bryan Taylor of Prattville, the bill's sponsor, says drunkenboaters should be held equally responsible to a drunk driver.{} Taylor sponsored the bill because ofincidents on Lake Jordan and Lake Martin.{}Parts of these lakes are in Taylor's district.

      TheSenate voted 83 - 0 in favor of a similar bill sponsored by Republican PaulBeckman, also of Prattville.

      Beckman'sbill now goes to the Senate for consideration and Taylor's bill goes to theHouse.