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HB 356 - Recreational liability

HB 356 - Recreational liability

Phil Haunschild
January 18, 2018

Bill description: This bill ensures that property owners can allow public use of their land without legal indemnification for guests on their property.

Rating: +1

Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the US Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the US Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? 

This bill would further secure the rights of private property here in Idaho. This right to private property ensures that owners can make use of their land for whatever purpose they wish. For some, private ownership allows them to provide a philanthropic service by allowing the public access to their land. Many individuals across the state have offered up their own private land to the public for recreational uses such as hunting, fishing, or hiking by other members of the public.

This bill would ensure that said property owners could not be held liable for injuries that occur on their property for allowing the public access. Currently, if the property owner develops or improves the property in some waysuch as builds a footbridge over a stream, clears brush from a hiking path, or constructs a shelterthey can be held liable for any injuries that come as a result of using the premises. When a property owner is at risk of a lawsuit it disincentivizes them from providing this public access.

Providing property owners with protection from legal indemnification would ensure that they can make full use of their private property. Adoption of this bill would also have the added benefit of encouraging the expanded use of private land for public access.


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