HARTFORD—Rep. Christie Carpino today called for her colleagues on the legislature’s Judiciary Committee to vote on a bill that would grant cities and towns immunity from lawsuits filed by people injured on municipally-owned recreational land. Carpino contends that committee leaders have let the bipartisan H.B. 6557, An Act Concerning Liability for the Recreational Use of Lands, collect dust despite its broad support among local leaders.The issue grabbed headlines last year after a controversial jury verdict awarding a Rocky Hill resident nearly $3 million after she crashed her bicycle on a trail at a Metropolitan District Commission reservoir.
Consequently, MDC officials, fearing a similar lawsuit in the future, threatened to padlock its various properties used by thousands of people throughout Connecticut.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people who use these types of passive recreation areas as well as local leaders who worry about the financial impact of a lawsuit, and all of them have urged me to support this bill,” Carpino said. “It’s the type of common sense proposal constituents expect from their government.”
Immunity under the bill would include municipalities, political subdivisions of the state and special districts as owners of land entitled to immunity under the Recreational Land Use Act—which does offer that protection to individuals, corporations, nonprofits, and private utilities. The bill also clarifies the definition of “land” and “recreational purpose.”
Carpino said the proposal deserves a vote in the Judiciary Committee. The deadline is Friday.
“So many of the initiatives discussed and policies enacted by this legislature are geared toward promoting healthy living, and to let this bill die on the vine in committee would not only erode those efforts but also do a disservice to people throughout Connecticut who enjoy outdoor recreation.”