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Senate Bill 1037 — Surveyor access to private land

Senate Bill 1037 — Surveyor access to private land

Phil Haunschild
February 5, 2019

Bill description: SB 1037 would give land surveyors authority to enter most private properties without the express permission of a landowner.

Rating: -1

Does it violate the principle of equal protection under the law? Examples include laws which discriminate or differentiate based on age, gender, or religion or which apply laws, regulations, rules, or penalties differently based on such characteristics. Conversely, does it restore or protect the principle of equal protection under the law?

Currently, the only surveyors who have the legal authority to enter private land without the permission of the landowner are those who doing work authorized by the U.S. Congress. This is a relic of state law, passed in the early 1900s as Congress was regularly conducting surveys across the nation.

SB 1037 would extend this special privilege to licensed private land surveyors and their employees, as they could enter onto private property to conduct any surveys without the express consent of the property owner. This exception would not apply, however, to railroad property. Prior to entering onto any property owned by a railroad, a surveyor would have to receive written permission. For any other property, the surveyor would simply have to provide a written notice to the owner. This notice would have to be provided in as timely a manner as possible, either in person or through the mail. If the notice is delivered through the mail, it would have to be at least seven days prior to the survey.

If the land to be surveyed is a business or agricultural land, the surveyor would have to act in the least disruptive manner possible. For private homes and any other land, however, the surveyor would have no obligation to act with consideration for of the landowner.

For example, if a family was holding a ceremony or celebration in their backyard and a surveyor needed to come onto their property the same day, the family would have no ability to keep the surveyor from entering onto their private property and disrupting its event. While this would be a highly unlikely scenario for private landowners, SB 1037 would give licensed surveyors authority that no one else has.


Update: This analysis was updated to incorporate the amendments added on February 28. These amendments did not substantively change this analysis.

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