Saturday, April 4, 2009

Landowners’ Protection Act Sent to Governor’s Desk

HB 529 limits liability concerns for landowners

The General Assembly today gave final passage to Governor Sonny Perdue’s proposed legislation that limits liability concerns for landowners who open their property to hunters and agri-tourists. House Bill 529 started as Senate Bill 75, the Landowners Protection Act, introduced by Administration Floor Leader Sen. Bill Heath. Sen. John Bulloch, Rep. Tom McCall and Rep. Jim Cole also worked for passage of the bill.

“Georgia is a premier agri-tourism destination,” said Governor Perdue. “This legislation ensures that the threat of litigation does not prevent landowners from welcoming guests onto their property. I appreciate all who worked together to protect landowners and stand up for the rights of private property owners.”

The Landowner’s Protection Act protects landowners, who allow hunters to hunt on their property, from being sued for accidents arising during a hunt except those due to gross negligence on the part of the landowner. Likewise, visitors to an agri-tourism attraction (e.g., visiting a farm to pick peaches) would not be able to win lawsuits filed against the landowner for injuries during such a visit except in cases of gross negligence.

“We want to encourage landowners to open their hunting property and farms to visitors to enjoy Georgia’s natural beauty as an agricultural and sportsman’s paradise,” said Sen. Heath. “This bill allows landowners to be able to open their property to everyone that shares their deep appreciation of Georgia’s natural resources.”
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