22nd Alaska State Legislature
Information from Representative Pete Kott

Click image for large 5'' x 7'' picture, 105.8k Session:
State Capitol, Room 204
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Phone: (907) 465-3777
Fax: (907) 465-2819

10928 Eagle River Road, Suite 141
Eagle River, AK 99577
Phone: (907) 694-8944
Fax: (907) 694-8945

Sponsor Statement for HB 319
Recreational Activity Liability

An Act relating to civil liability for commercial recreational activities; and providing for an effective date.
Released: March 7, 2002
Contact: Linda Sylvester, Legislative Aide to Rep. Pete Kott, at (907) 465-3777

One of Alaska's major attractions is outdoor adventure and recreation activities. Yet high liability insurance costs are prohibitive, especially for smaller businesses offering commercial recreation opportunities.

Without exception, participation in outdoor recreational activities carries some degree of inherent risk for its participants. Many tourism related businesses, the majority of which, are small, offer recreational activities such as river rafting, guided hiking, snowboarding and sport fishing, to name a few. HB 319 has been introduced to establish the responsibilities of commercial recreation businesses and the responsibilities of persons who elect to participate in recreation activities. It addresses specific guidelines operators and participants must follow to minimize the possibility of accidents. Commercial businesses are still responsible for meeting safety standards and providing trained and competent personnel, as outlined in Section 05.50.040.

However, HB 319 will adds the presumption that a participant accepts the inherent risks of a commercial recreation activity and as such has played a part in any damages resulting from that inherent risk. Likewise, a non-paying guest who is transported by a non-commercial aircraft or watercraft is considered to have assumed the same inherent risks as the commercial recreation user.

This legislation will decrease uncertainties regarding the legal responsibilities for injuries and encourage the continued viability of responsible businesses that offer commercial recreational activities to the public. Existing legal uncertainties have resulted in high liability insurance costs, which are prohibitive, especially for smaller businesses. This bill will help avoid unfair and unreasonable claims that make it difficult to provide recreational and outdoor activities that are synonymous with Alaska lifestyles and visitor expectations.

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Related Links

· Kott’s Recreational Liability Bill Passes House

· HB 86: Civil Liability for Improper Litigation

· HB 97: Purchase of Structured Settlements

· HB 111: Civil Liability and Livestock

· HB 127: Aviation & Aircraft Emergency Equipment

· HB 271: Cap on Aviation Accident Punitive Damages

· HB 281: Civil Liability for Providing Alcohol

· HB 319: Recreational Activity Liability

· HB 427: Third-Party Civil Action

· SB 325: Civil Liability for Defibrillator Use

· SB 327: Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance