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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our Hawaii State Legislature is currently attempting to enact new liability laws for our state forests. This clearly impacts the bike park project that is currently underway here on Maui state forest lands, the project is also the recipient of a significant state funds.

Here's the deal, if no law is passed, then the current law expires and I don't even like to think were that would leave us. The bill that was introduced addressed signage as way to limit liability but the representatives have rewritten it to include more language, i.e. red tape.

The Senate rejected the House committee's rewritten version and returned it. Waiting to see the newest version or whether they will take any action.

Follow along here Measure Status

If anyone can make sense of this please share.

There has been a variety of local media stories such as, http://www.kitv.com/news/outdoor-enthusiasts-at-odds-with-rep-sylvia-luke/25427618
 

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i'm schralping yer thread
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The current effort is an attempt to strengthen Hawaii's "recreational use" statutes, which would improve public access to mountain bike trails, climbing areas, etc. because landowners would be less exposed to lawsuits. The climbing group The Access Fund is tracking the issue -- latest report here: Hawaii Climbing Access Effort Hits a Roadblock - Access Fund
Ummm...hate to disagree with you; but airwreck's point is that the process has been hijacked by the chair of the state house committee sheparding the legislation. She, Rep. Sylvia Luke, removed the recreational immunity language from the original bill, SB 1007 HD1. In a completely unrelated total coincidence, Luke is also an attorney with a very large personal injury practice in Hawaii. Go figure! :shocked:

Anyhow, many of the original user-group sponsors are now justifiably angry, and have gone as far as to file an ethics complaint against Luke for conflict of interest.

I haven't had the chance to ride in Hawaii; but the bros I know there like airwreck (hey buddy, we rode with EB in b-ham a couple months ago...good times!) have been fighting tough battles for access and have some really rad trails. It looks like Rep. Luke thought she could quietly undermine the intent of the bill without anyone noticing -- hopefully, the public outcry can force a reversal.
 

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Tre1nt
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418 Posts
Got it -- thanks for the update. As far as I know IMBA's chapters in Hawaii haven't taken a position. Or if they have, they have not informed IMBA about it. IMBA HQ would need the chapters to take up the issue before wading in to a state-based campaign.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There may not be much we can do at this point. I'm sharing this info so others can see what goes on in government. I'll try to briefly explain my observations of what is happening.

First was the climbing accident on "unimproved state lands".

Then there is the issue of the current state law regarding liability on state lands expiring soon.

Last year our state legislature appropriated monies to the state trails departments, our island's plan for the money is to build out mtb trails with features on "improved state lands".

This years legislative session saw two bills were introduced to update the liability laws. The first one HB777 defines "improved public lands" and includes some language to define "voluntary trails". This measure was not modified.

The second bill, SB1007 was intended to address signage as liability protection and has been significantly revised, passed on to the present 2014 session. Panic set in when it was realized that the House was running out of time to pass it through this year. At the last minute it resurfaced and more revisions were made.

In my opinion, it seems like they played the last minute action in to an opportunity to sneak the revisions through. I do respect the fact that a personal injury attorney would be well qualified to construct the bill to protect the state. Hard to tell what the bill even says at this point though, even reading through the versions doesn't help answer any questions. We do know that the Senate rejected the revisions, now we just wait and see.

The Oahu IMBA chapter has been very involved in the situation, I honestly don't know how much influence IMBA can have in the process, especially with such late notice, which adds to the speculation of why did they wait until the last minute.
 

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Tre1nt
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Because the legislation involves multiple user groups, it could be a good candidate for followup with the Outdoor Alliance, a coalition of human-powered recreation groups that IMBA is involved in.

Outdoor Alliance

Do you know if the Oahu chapter has contacted IMBA's government affairs staff on this matter? Maybe that's been ongoing work and I haven't been in the loop. If not, both IMBA and the Outdoor Alliance do retain professional lobby groups in Washington that can work on things from that end ... although perhaps the bell is about to ring on the current round.
 
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