HBA-ATS H.B. 3080 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 3080 By: Kuempel Civil Practices 4/4/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Some surveys and studies reveal that the number of young hunters throughout the nation is declining. On average, the number of hunters in the 18-34 age group has declined by 50 percent. This decline may be attributable to factors such as increasing urbanization and declining habitat. Texas is no exception. Over the past 30 years, participation in hunting by children and young adults has decreased. As a result, the average age of the Texas hunter is 45. As these hunters grow older their participation rate will decrease too. These declining numbers represent a threat to the hunting industry. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported that hunters spent an estimated $21 billion dollars on their sport in 1996. In Texas, several groups are promoting the reintroduction of hunting to children and young adults by providing opportunities to hunt on private and public lands. Individuals, organizations, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife use volunteers to conduct these hunts. Many of these volunteers are trained through the Texas Youth Hunting program to serve as Huntmasters to oversee these events. Texas is not alone in sponsoring special hunts for children and young adults. As of 1996, 42 states sponsored children's hunts. The Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission sponsors special hunts on public land for children as young as eight years old. The Colorado Division of Wildlife offers a youth license with no minimum age. The individuals who volunteer to oversee the children on these hunts may be exposed to legal liability. Because hunting is not encompassed within the protections of the volunteer laws, volunteers are not provided with immunity. Lack of immunity may deter individuals from participating as volunteers. H.B. 3080 provides that a volunteer who is serving as an officer or director or as a direct service volunteer is immune from civil liability for any act or omission resulting in death, damage, or injury if the volunteer was acting in the course and scope of the volunteer's duties or functions. Immunity is granted only to volunteers who organize or conduct a hunt for animals carried out by persons younger than age 18. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Title 4, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, by adding Chapter 100, as follows: CHAPTER 100. LIABILITY OF VOLUNTEERS IN CERTAIN HUNTING ACTIVITIES Sec. 100.001. DEFINITIONS. Defines "good faith" and "volunteer." Sec. 100.002. APPLICABILITY TO YOUTH HUNTS. Specifies that this chapter applies only to a volunteer in organizing or conducting a hunt for animals carried out by persons younger than age 18. Sec. 100.003. VOLUNTEER LIABILITY. Sets forth that a volunteer who is serving as an officer or director or as a direct service volunteer is immune from civil liability for any act or omission resulting in death, damage, or injury if the volunteer was acting in the course and scope of the volunteer's duties or functions. Provides that a volunteer is liable to a person for death, damage, or injury to the person or the person's property proximately caused by any act or omission arising from the operation or use of any motor-driven equipment, including an airplane, to the extent insurance coverage is required by Chapter 601 (Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Act), Transportation Code and of any existing insurance coverage applicable to the act or omission. Articulates that this section applies only to the liability of a volunteer, and that this section does not apply to the liability of a person using or benefitting from the efforts of a volunteer. Sec. 100.004. LIMITATION. Specifies that this chapter does not apply to an act or omission that is intentional, wilfully or wantonly negligent, or done with conscious indifference or reckless disregard for the safety of others. SECTION 2.Effective date: September 1, 1999. Makes application of this Act prospective. SECTION 3.Emergency clause.