San Juan Island lawmaker Sen. Kevin Ranker recently unveiled a punishing piece of legislation designed to make one's ferry voyage as free from bad behavior as a trip on the Good Ship Lollipop. Under Ranker's proposed law, urinating and defecating in places outside the bathroom would not be tolerated and could result in a maximum 90-day jail sentence and a $1,000 fine. Sounds reasonable. But then there's this: That list of no-nos also includes smoking and spitting.
It goes on from there. Ranker also wants misdemeanors doled out to those who dare to roller-skate, skateboard, or let Spot off his leash. Play the radio too loud? That's on the list too.
A final no-no: No one will be allowed to pass themselves off as ferry workers. One has to wonder how often someone masquerades as a ferry employee. At least we did.
"Well, actually it has happened a few times," Ranker tells Seattle Weekly. "They'll do it to get ahead in a ferry line or walk on the boat without paying the fare."
Ranker, who lives on Orcas Island, said he's been approached by ferry workers who are concerned that rude behavior is growing more frequent and more egregious. "We're seeing situations where people have really been harassed and the Washington State Patrol doesn't have the power to make an arrest."
Capt. Jason Berry, legislative liaison for State Patrol Chief John Batiste, told the Kitsap Sun that troopers have arrest powers on other forms of transit, but not on ferries.
For their part, troopers, added Berry, are frustrated that dog owners must keep their pets on a leash in Seattle, but when they get to Colman Dock, they don't have to. "A lot of times when we're dealing with things at a lower level, we can control it before it ever gets to that point," said Berry. "If somebody's behavior gets so out of control or somebody is doing dangerous things, we can arrest them and immediately remove them, and that will stabilize things."