Legislature passes bill essential to keeping recreational school facilities open to public
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
The Legislature approved a bill Wednesday that gives school district employees and volunteers immunity from civil liability when the public uses district land for free recreation.
State law shields public landowners such as cities and school districts from legal liability claims over the free use of public lands, but an Oregon Supreme Court decision in Johnson v. Gibson last year allowed employees of public landowners to be sued. Senate Bill 327 extends the recreational immunity shield to employees, agents, volunteers and others when acting on behalf of a public landowner.
Without the change, there was the potential for increased insurance and litigation costs for public agencies, according to the Legislative Fiscal Office.
“This allows school districts to leave the campuses and playgrounds open so the public can continue to use them,” said Lori Sattenspiel, OSBA interim director of legislative services.
The bill passed the Senate unanimously and 54-4 in the House. The bill now goes to Gov. Kate Brown.