"New state law requires lifeguards on beaches " by: Mike Reddell

   New state legislation would require cities, counties and the Parks and Wildlife Department to add signs and lifeguards by each pier, jetty or other structures that extend into the Gulf of Mexico on public beaches.
   House Bill 3807 – the Je’Sani Smith Act that’s named for a Corpus Christi teen who was swept away by a rip current two years ago – becomes effective Sept. 1.
   Precinct 2 Kent Pollard told Commissioners Court Monday the act “is an unfunded mandate” that calls for placing lifeguards around “obstructions and other structures that protrude into the gulf.”
   Pollard listed all of the structures on the gulf that could require a lifeguard within 100 yards on each side in Matagorda County, including the jetty pier, the jetties, the mouth of the Colorado River, the educational pier at Sargent Beach and the breakwater beach nourishment project that will begin construction in January.
   “A whole lot of our constituents want these fixed rather than paying for an unfunded mandate,” Pollard said.
   Raising the cost of beach permits will be one source of revenue for adding lifeguards, he added.
   “This came up as a surprise,” remarked Pollard, adding no association related to the coast mentioned the bill that was authored by State Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi) and signed 
into law by Gov. Greg Abbott June 15.

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