Amends provisions relating to the liability of landowners who permit recreational uses of their land; provides that landowners owe no duty to keep premises safe for entry, passage or other recreational uses or to give warning of any hazardous condition, structure or activity on such premises to persons entering for such purposes.
BILL NUMBER: S5485 REVISED 05/20/09
TITLE OF BILL :
An act to amend the general obligations law, in relation to the liability of landowners who permit recreational uses
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL :
This bill would enhance the availability of recreational activities on undeveloped lands by clarifying the provisions of the General Obligations Law (GOL) relating to landowner liability for providing public access for recreational activities.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS :
Section 1 of the bill would amend GOL §9-103 to provide that owners, lessees and occupants of premises owe no duty of care: (i) to keep their premises safe for passage over by persons engaging in specific recreational activities; and (ii) to persons engaging in any recreational use on the premises.
Section 2 provides that the bill would take effect immediately.
This bill seeks to encourage the owners of land and water areas to permit their use for recreational activities. About 85 percent of New York State is privately-owned, and many people rely on private landowners for access to outdoor recreational opportunities. Landowners may be more receptive to opening their lands for recreational use if they would not be subject to liability for doing so. In order to promote the availability of recreational opportunities, the liability of landowners is limited in GOL § 9-103.
GOL §9-103, commonly referred to as the Recreational Use Statute, affords landowners immunity from liability based on a failure to keep premises safe for entry and use by others for specific recreational activities, including: hunting, fishing, organized gleaning, canoeing, boating, trapping, hiking, cross-country skiing, tobogganing, sledding, speleological activities, horseback riding, motorized vehicle operation for recreational purposes, snowmobile operation, cutting or gathering of wood for noncommercial purposes or the training of dogs. One of the concerns for landowners is that this list does not include all recreational activities for which a landowner may make their land available to the public. For example, hiking is a covered activity but walking is not. This bill would address this incongruity by including all recreational activities in GOL §9-103. In addition, this bill would clarify that property owners would be protected if they allow individuals to pass over their land in order to participate in a recreational activity.
This bill would not change the existing protection from a landowner's willful or malicious failure to guard or to warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure or activity. It would not apply in cases where a fee is paid for any recreational use.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
2007-08: A.9116/S.2761 Judiciary in Assembly and Senate 2006: S.8188 Passed Senate 2004: A.9664 - Assembly Insurance Committee; S.1279-A Passed Senate 2003: A.6342 - Assembly Insurance Committee; Enacting clause stricken; S.1279 Passed Senate 2001-02: A.6101 Assembly Insurance Committee; S.2200 Passed Senate 2000: A.3810 Assembly Insurance Committee; S.3529 Passed Senate 1999: A.3810 Assembly Insurance Committee; S.3529 Passed Senate 1998: A.4793-B Assembly Insurance Committee; S.2803B Senate Insurance Committee 1997: A.4793-A Assembly Insurance Committee; S.2803A Passed Senate 1996: A.9046-C Assembly Judiciary Committee; S.6269C Passed Senate
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :
There is no direct fiscal impact on the state or local government. However, by opening more land for recreational activities, localities may see an increase in tourism related tax revenues.
EFFECTIVE DATE : The bill would take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ S. 5485 A. 8258 2009-2010 Regular Sessions S E N A T E - A S S E M B L Y May 11, 2009 ___________IN SENATE -- Introduced by Sens. WINNER, AUBERTINE, STACHOWSKI, VALESKY, YOUNG -- (at request of the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources) -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary IN ASSEMBLY -- Introduced by M. of A. KOON, LIFTON, BACALLES, BURLING -- read once and referred to the Committee on Judiciary AN ACT to amend the general obligations law, in relation to the liabil- ity of landowners who permit recreational uses THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraph a of subdivision 1 of section 9-103 of the gener- al obligations law, as separately amended by chapters 141 and 286 of the laws of 1984, is amended to read as follows: a. an owner, lessee or occupant of premises, whether or not posted as provided in section 11-2111 of the environmental conservation law, owes no duty: (1) to keep the premises safe for entry, PASSAGE OVER PREMISES or use by others for hunting, fishing, organized gleaning as defined in section seventy-one-y of the agriculture and markets law, canoeing, boating, trapping, hiking, cross-country skiing, tobogganing, sledding, speleological activities, horseback riding, bicycle riding, hang glid- ing, motorized vehicle operation for recreational purposes, snowmobile operation, cutting or gathering of wood for non-commercial purposes
[or], training of dogs, AND ANY OTHER RECREATIONAL USE; or (2) to give warning of any hazardous condition or use of or structure or activity on such premises to persons entering for such purposes; S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD02459-02-9