Wednesday, February 17, 2010

State Legislation Preview

Apologies for the lack of posts lately; in case you haven’t heard by now, the Washington, DC, area was covered in a record-breaking amount of snow last week. We’re (mostly) dug-out now, so we're back at the blogging game once more.

I’ve been updating the State Bill Tracker on IAAPA’s Capwiz site and I came across a few bills of interest to the attractions industry:

Maryland Waterpark Legislation
Waterpark members may remember similar legislation introduced last session in Maryland. Called “Connor’s Law” in honor of a child who drowned in a country club pool, HB 273 calls for a 1:25 lifeguard-to-swimmer ratio in all Maryland pools. The bill was referred to the Health and Government Operations Committee for a hearing.

Florida Parental Waiver Legislation
Two years ago, a Florida court held that a pre-injury release executed by a parent on behalf of a minor child is unenforceable against the minor or the minor's estate in a tort action arising from injuries resulting from participation in a commercial activity. In plain English: a parent can't sign a liability waiver for his or her child.

This decision had a substantial impact on go-kart and other attractions operations in the state of Florida. This legislation (HB285/SB1578) seeks to restore the right of a parent to sign a liability waiver for his or her child. Similar legislation was introduced last session but did not make it to final passage. This session the legislation has been introduced earlier in the session, giving it better chances for passage. The legislation was referred to the Judiciary Committee in the Senate and the Criminal & Civil Justice Policy Council in the House.

School Start Date Legislation
There are several legislative proposals this year addressing the school calendar. IAAPA tracks these proposals for members, since obviously the school calendar has a big impact on the industry:

Indiana - SB 150

Tennessee - SB 3088

Virginia - HB 1111

IAAPA tracks legislation in every state and notifies members when action is needed, but we usually don’t lobby directly at the state level. Many states have state or regional associations that work closely with IAAPA and lobby on legislation that has the potential to affect the industry, but if your state doesn't, or if you’re looking for some additional guidance, please feel free to contact us.

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