Audio: Senator Josh Hawley is ready to go to Senate floor to seek unanimous consent on duck boat legislation

Duck Boat being raised from bottom of lake

A Missouri senator who serves on the Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill is frustrated that his duck boat legislation remains stuck in the Commerce Committee.

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley says the bill is bottled up in committee. The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is chaired by U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi.

“I think the time has probably come to try and force it out of committee and for me to go to the (U.S. Senate) floor and to try and pass it myself,” Hawley says.

His legislation, called the Duck Boat Safety Enhancement Act, would require the U.S. Coast Guard to implement recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), including requiring duck boats to remove canopies. 17 people were killed in the July 2018 duck boat tragedy on southwest Missouri’s Table Rock Lake.

During a Thursday interview with Missourinet, Senator Hawley says he’s trying to prevent a repeat of the deadly 2018 tragedy. He also indicates his patience is wearing thin, saying he’s ready to go to the floor.



“And if there’s no movement in coming days on the bill, that’s exactly what I will do. I will go to the floor of the United States Senate and I will seek unanimous consent to have this bill passed, and then we’ll have to see who objects to it,” says Hawley.

Hawley’s legislation would also require amphibious passenger vessels to be equipped to stay afloat, in the event of flooding. It would also impose new security requirements on every single duck boat, in Missouri and nationally. It would also require new reporting efforts.

The bill was one of the first filed by Senator Hawley, after he was sworn-in. It’s very similar to legislation filed by Hawley’s predecessor, former U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D). Her bill also was stuck in committee.

17 of the 31 people aboard the boat called Stretch Duck 7 died after a storm with 70 mile-per-hour winds came through. The NTSB says the Coast Guard’s failure to require sufficient design of amphibious vessels contributed to the boat’s sinking.

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Brian Hauswirth

Brian Hauswirth began as Missourinet news director in July 2016. He anchors daily newscasts, simulcasts and special reports from the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City, where he primarily covers the Missouri House and numerous legislative committee hearings.