Public Lands; Liability

Declares that the government is not liable for accidents and
injuries occurring on unimproved public land.  Repeals Act 190,
SLH 1996. Establishes a task force on beach and water safety. (HB
2668 HD1)

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.           H.D. 1
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2000                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  The Hawaii Revised Statutes is amended by adding
 2 a new chapter to be appropriately designated and to read as
 3 follows:
 4                           "CHAPTER  
 6         -1  Definitions.  As used in this chapter:
 7      "Government" means any unit of government in this State,
 8 including any county or combination of counties, any department,
 9 agency, institution, board, commission, district, council,
10 bureau, office, governing authority, or other instrumentality of
11 state or county government, or any corporation or other
12 establishment owned, operated, or managed by or on behalf of this
13 State or any county.
14      "Public beach" means beaches and shoreline fronting either a
15 public beach park or a public beach right-of-way or access way,
16 and includes any public beach right-of-way or access way.  For
17 purposes of this definition, a public beach right-of-way or
18 access way does not include any public street or highway.
19         -2  Natural condition of unimproved public land.
20 Neither a government nor a government officer nor an employee
21 shall be liable for an injury caused by a natural condition of
Page 2                                                     2668
                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 1
 1 any unimproved public land, including but not limited to any
 2 natural condition of any lake, stream, bay, river, or public
 3 beach.  
 4         -3  Public beach; natural condition of unimproved land
 5 notwithstanding public safety services; application.(a)  Public
 6 beaches shall be deemed to be in a natural condition and
 7 unimproved, notwithstanding the provision or absence of public
 8 services such as lifeguards, police or sheriff patrols, medical
 9 services, fire protection services, or beach cleanup services,
10 and notwithstanding the existence or absence of seawalls,
11 revetments, groins, or other shore protection structures, or
12 signs.
13      (b)  Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to immunize
14 the government from liability for negligent performance of rescue
15 services."
16      "SECTION 2.  There is established the task force on beach
17 and water safety which shall be administratively attached to the
18 department of land and natural resources.  The task force shall
19 provide consultation to the chairperson of the board of land and
20 natural resources regarding the design and placement of warning
21 signs, devices, or systems at public beach parks including any
22 comprehensive plan submitted by the State or county operating a
23 public beach park to the chairperson of the board of land and

Page 3                                                     2668
                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 1
 1 natural resources for approval.  The task force shall consist of
 2 the following members, who shall serve without compensation:
 3      (1)  The chairperson of the board of land and natural
 4           resources, or a designated representative;
 5      (2)  The director of business, economic development, and
 6           tourism, or a designated representative;
 7      (3)  The chairperson of the department of oceanography at
 8           the University of Hawaii at Manoa, or a designated
 9           representative; and
10      (4)  Four persons appointed by the governor, each of whom
11           shall be publicly employed water safety personnel;
12           provided that the governor shall appoint one person
13           from each of the respective counties.
14      The chairperson of the board of land and natural resources
15 shall serve as chairperson of the task force. The task force
16 shall submit a report of its recommendations to the legislature
17 and the governor no later than twenty days prior to the convening
18 of each Regular Session."
19      SECTION 3.  Act 190, Session Laws of Hawaii 1996, as amended
20 by Act 101, Session Laws of Hawaii 1999, is repealed.
21      SECTION 4.  This Act does not affect rights and duties that
22 matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were
23 begun, before its effective date.
24      SECTION 5.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.