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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: January 30, 2023 11:33 AM
From: Senator Daniel Laughlin
To: All Senate members
Subject: Amending the Recreational Use of Land and Water Act for Limited Liability Protections for Volunteers and Volunteer Organizations

In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that will amend the Recreational Use of Land and Water Act (RULWA) to provide protections for volunteers, volunteer organizations, and those that landowners invite onto their property in order to improve the property for recreational use.

RULWA was created to encourage landowners to make land and water areas available to the public for recreational purposes by limiting liability to the landowners. This legislation will extend that limited liability protection to volunteers, volunteer organizations, and those who the landowner invites onto their property who “without compensation, provide services to care for, enhance, preserve, restore or maintain land for recreational purposes.”

Several organizations in Pennsylvania  have been swept up in lawsuits filed against landowners where they volunteer, but that have nothing to do with the volunteers and volunteer organizations themselves, or their volunteer work. Situations of this type make it impossible, or nearly impossible, for these non-profit volunteer organizations to obtain reasonable liability insurance, putting their beneficial volunteer operations at risk. The increasing costs of liability insurance has become a burden for friends’ groups and others who give so much to our communities.

This bill will be identical to House Bill 1694 from last session that unanimously passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee.  The bill has the support of over 80 organizations around the Commonwealth including the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation, Trout Unlimited, Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen and Conservationists, Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society, and the Fairmount Park Conservancy.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB507