State Reps. Neal P. Goodman and Doyle Heffley have introduced legislation (H.B. 1125) that would ensure property owners are not held responsible for hunting violations committed by those granted permission to hunt on their land.
Goodman, D-Schuylkill, and Heffley, R-Carbon, agreed to work together on the legislation after meeting with farmers from their legislative districts. The legislation has long been a top priority of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.
"Across the commonwealth, property owners graciously grant access to their land to hunters, giving more hunters more access to game," Goodman said. "They should not be held responsible for Game and Wildlife Code violations simply because someone who was granted access to their property failed to follow the rules."
Goodman said he's eager to work together with Heffley, a fellow outdoorsman, to advance the legislation.
"Pennsylvania offers some of the best hunting opportunities in the nation; however, a good majority of those locations are located on private lands," Heffley said. "That's why it's important for us to encourage farmers and land owners to open their land to hunting and fishing, while continuing to protect them from frivolous lawsuits because of the actions of others."
Currently, Section 924 of the Game and Wildlife Code may be interpreted to mean a landowner is legally liable for the actions of someone who was allowed on the property. H.B. 1125 would clarify the landowner liability issue under the Game and Wildlife Code like current law does to limit liability for landowners who allow use of their property for a broad range of recreational purposes, including hunting.
Goodman and Heffley said they would be working to build support for the bill within their respective caucuses. Heffley is a member of the House Game and Fisheries Committee. Goodman served on that committee before he was elected to House Democratic leadership for the 2013-14 legislative session.