March 2, 2012
By Dan Namowitz
South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard has signed a bill backed by AOPA and the Recreational Aviation Foundation that should broaden public access to private landing strips by providing liability exemptions for the landowners.
Daugaard signed House Bill 1212, which designates aviation as an “outdoor recreational purpose” afforded protection, on March 1. The bill had unanimously cleared both houses of the state legislature.
“Providing liability protection to private airfields is critical for many states that rely heavily on backcountry aviation,” said Mark Kimberling, AOPA director of state government affairs. “With the enactment of this law, general aviation’s reach across the state expands greatly.”
AOPA worked in tandem with the RAF to promote the bill as it moved through the legislative process.
A similar bill recently passed in the state of Washington and awaited the signature of Gov. Christine Gregoire, as numerous states considered legislation to broaden the reach of general aviation and generate new activity for local economies.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor.
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