March 19, 2012
By Dan Namowitz
Liability-protection bills that make it easier for landowners to grant public access to private airfields has been on the move in the states—and the focus now shifts to Minnesota.
Two AOPA-backed bills headed for action in the Minnesota House and Senate would add noncommercial aviation activities to the list of recreational land-use immunities afforded to owners of private property.
House File 2862 was introduced March 14 and referred to the Civil Law Committee for hearing. A companion bill, Senate File 2377, was introduced March 12 and will be taken up by the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
AOPA, working with the Recreational Aviation Foundation, will continue to be engaged with Minnesota legislators as they consider the measures. AOPA has 7,400 members in Minnesota.
“In a state with such a vibrant general aviation industry, additional liability protection for private airfield owners will only serve to strengthen general aviation across Minnesota,” said Mark Kimberling, AOPA director of state government affairs.
Earlier this month, Washington State Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a liability protection bill. Another liability-protection bill passed a few days earlier in South Dakota.
AOPA’s Central Southwest regional manager recently put GA’s utility to the test with a whirlwind trip covering four states, seven airports, and nine meetings.
Wisconsin’s governor has signed a bill adding aviation to an existing recreational-use statute.
Smith Field in Fort Wayne, Ind., has withstood three separate attacks—in the 1970s, 1990s, and 2002—to close it and redevelop the land. Now, it's thriving.
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