Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/26/1995 01:17 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 HB 291 - CIVIL LIABILITY FOR SKATEBOARDING                                  
 DENNY DEWITT, Legislative Assistant to Representative Eldon Mulder,           
 introduced HB 291.  He said this bill was introduced by the request           
 of the Municipality of Anchorage, and is supported by the                     
 Fairbanks/North Star Borough.  Municipalities would like to create            
 skateboard parks so skateboarders would have a place to ride a                
 little more safely than in downtown malls and sidewalks.  They                
 would like immunity from liability which this bill would give them.           
 They would be required to post signs.  He said he would like to               
 propose an amendment which would simply change the word "operate"             
 to use another term so that there is no misunderstanding that there           
 needs to be someone on site all the time at the skateboard parks.             
 Both the Anchorage and Fairbanks municipalities would like to                 
 establish skateboard parks.  They have been requested to but have             
 been reluctant to move forward without this minor correction to the           
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE said he appreciates what the municipalities              
 are trying to do, but would like to know for sure that we can grant           
 immunity from being sued.                                                     
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said the philosophy and balance this bill presents            
 is very similar to the ski liability bill we had last year that               
 basically says that there is an inherent risk to this activity.  If           
 we provide it to you, you are going to have to accept some of those           
 risks.  We are putting obligations on you to be properly capable of           
 performing this activity, wearing the right equipment, and                    
 generally act responsibly.  The municipalities would be responsible           
 for posting the fact that they will not be held liable for these              
 inherent risks.                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if this would require somebody to                  
 periodically check the parks to remove any obstructions that may              
 lead to a gross negligence suit.                                              
 MR. DEWITT understood there to be an obligation on the municipality           
 to make sure there are proper signs, and that it is in proper                 
 operation, as they would have to with any other public facility.              
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY felt this was a wonderful idea for those of             
 us who dodge the skateboarders.                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE mentioned that there is no way to indemnify              
 the cities totally, as much as we might want to.                              
 CHAIRMAN PORTER offered Amendment 1, which provides that it is the            
 facility that we are trying to exempt, and not require that an                
 operator from the city to be present.  Amendment 1 follows:                   
      Page 1, lines 8 - 9:                                                     
           Delete:  "skateboarding facility operated by a                      
           Insert:  "municipal skateboarding facility"                         
      Page 3, lines 1 - 2:                                                     
           Delete:  "A municipality that operates a skateboarding              
           Insert:  "In a municipal skateboarding facility, a                  
      Page 4, lines 19 - 20:                                                   
           Delete:  "that operates a skateboarding facility shall,             
                    before the beginning of a skateboard                       
           Insert:  "shall, before beginning skateboard competition            
                    at a municipal skateboard facility"                        
      Page 5, line 4:                                                          
           Delete:  "the operation of a"                                       
           Insert:  "a municipal"                                              
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN felt that was a good idea, and made a motion             
 to move the amendment.  Hearing no objection, Amendment 1 was                 
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY made a motion to move CSHB 291(JUD) out of              
 the House Judiciary Committee with individual recommendation and              
 zero fiscal notes.  Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.                  

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