Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/14/1994 01:40 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 SENATOR KELLY announced  HB 300  (LIABILITY: COMMERCIAL RECREATION            
 ACTIVITY) to be up for consideration.                                         
                                                                               
 LYNDA GIGUERE, Legislative Aide to Representative Hudson, said they           
 introduced HB 300 to establish the responsibilities of persons who            
 operate commercial outdoor recreational activities and persons who            
 participate in those activities.  It, in no way, relieves                     
 recreational businesses or operators from liability.  It simply               
 establishes a framework that may decrease uncertainty regarding a             
 legal responsibility for injuries that result in participation in             
 these activities.                                                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR LINCOLN asked what commercial recreational means exactly -            
 does one have to pay and does it have to be outdoor.  MS. GIGUERE             
 said this addresses outside wilderness activities such as kayaking            
 and parasailing, etc.                                                         
                                                                               
 DENNIS MESTAS, Trail Warriors, said HB 300 goes farther than it               
 should to establish what is intended.  As written, it applies to              
 airlines and air charters, ferries, turbos, tour buses, river                 
 boats, etc.                                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY commented that there wasn't much detail in this bill            
 regarding strengthening safety procedures that operators would have           
 to comply with as with the skiing liability bill.                             
                                                                               
 Number 242                                                                    
                                                                               
 KAREN COWERT, Director, AVA, strongly supported HB 300.  She said             
 the visitor industry has seen a lot of growth over the past 10                
 years.  Visitors are wanting to participate more in the adventurous           
 side of Alaska.  This legislation does not intend to absolve the              
 operator from neglect.                                                        
                                                                               
 ROY DAW opposed HB 300, because as written, it would do harm to the           
 state.                                                                        
                                                                               
 CLARK GRUENING, Alaska Visitors Association, said there is some               
 confusion on whether this bill might be trying to establish                   
 immunity for operators.  The only place immunity is mentioned is in           
 reference to the ski liability bill and a section in Title 9                  
 dealing with unimproved land.  This bill does not deal with                   
 immunity at all.  It sets out responsibilities for participants and           
 operators.  He said there is no intention to cover common carriage            
 transportation.                                                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO said even though the bill doesn't establish immunity,            
 it does establish a shared responsibility.                                    
                                                                               
 MR. GRUENING agreed.                                                          
                                                                               
 NANCY LETHCOE, President, Alaska Wilderness Recreation and Tourism            
 Association, said they see this bill as an accident prevention                
 bill.  It sets minimum guidelines for commercial recreation                   
 businesses, establishes responsibility of the participants                    
 themselves, gives some protection against insurance scams, and it             
 might, in the long run, reduce insurance rates.                               
                                                                               
 As new people enter the industry, it is important to establish                
 minimum standards and guidelines.                                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY said he would put this bill aside so they could look            
 at some possible amendments.                                                  

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