Senate File 68 - IntroducedA Bill ForAn Act 1relating to immunity from civil liability for disaster
2response by volunteers who enter upon or in private property
3without express consent of the owner, lessee, or person in
4lawful possession.
5BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA:
1   Section 1.  NEW SECTION.  613.17A  Disasters — immunity from
2civil liability.
   31.  As used in this section, unless the context otherwise
4requires:
   5a.  “Disaster” means the same as defined in section 29C.2.
   6b.  “Emergency” means exigent circumstances demanding
7immediate action to protect life or property.
   8c.  “Peace officer” means all of the following:
   9(1)  Sheriffs and their regular deputies who are subject to
10mandated law enforcement training.
   11(2)  Marshals and police officers of cities.
   12(3)  Peace officer members of the department of public safety
13as defined in chapter 80.
   14(4)  Special security officers employed by board of regents
15institutions as set forth in section 262.13.
   16(5)  Such employees of the department of transportation as
17are designated “peace officers” by resolution of the department
18under section 321.477.
   19d.  “Property” means any land, dwelling, building, or other
20temporary or permanent structure that is privately owned.
   21e.  “Response” means any action taken immediately before,
22during, or directly after a disaster occurs, which is intended
23to save lives, minimize injuries, mitigate property damage, or
24mitigate environmental damage.
   25f.  “Volunteer” means any of the following:
   26(1)  An individual who is not part of a recognized
27voluntary organization, may have no formal training in
28emergency response, and comes to a disaster scene to provide
29uncompensated assistance.
   30(2)  An individual who is affiliated with a recognized
31voluntary or nonprofit organization and who is trained for
32specific disaster response activities. The individual’s
33relationship with the organization precedes the immediate
34disaster and the individual is invited by that organization
35to become involved, without compensation, in the disaster
-1-1response.
   22.  A volunteer may enter upon or in property in response to
3a disaster if all of the following apply:
   4a.  The governor has issued a proclamation of a disaster
5emergency pursuant to section 29C.6.
   6b.  An emergency exists on the property or is directly
7affecting the property.
   8c.  A reasonable effort has been made to contact or locate
9the owner, lessee, or person in lawful possession of the
10property to obtain express consent to enter the property. If
11circumstances allow, the effort to contact or locate the owner,
12lessee, or person in lawful possession of the property shall be
13made prior to entry upon or in the property. If circumstances
14require immediate mitigation to prevent harm, or further harm,
15to life or property, effort to contact or locate the owner,
16lessee, or person in lawful possession of the property shall
17be made as soon as is practicable after entry upon or in the
18property.
   19d.  Entry is made in good faith.
   203.  A volunteer who enters upon or in property pursuant
21to subsection 2 shall be immune from civil liability for
22acts or omissions in good faith by the volunteer while upon
23or in the property, unless such acts or omissions constitute
24recklessness, willful misconduct, or gross negligence.
   254.  A volunteer who enters upon or in property pursuant
26to subsection 2 shall not have committed criminal mischief
27pursuant to section 716.1 or trespass pursuant to section
28716.7.
   295.  The owner, lessee, or person in lawful possession of
30property shall be immune from civil liability for good-faith
31acts and omissions causing personal injury to, or the death
32of, a volunteer who has entered such property pursuant to
33subsection 2, unless such acts or omissions by the owner,
34lessee, or person in lawful possession of the property
35constitutes recklessness, willful misconduct, or gross
-2-1negligence.
   26.  This section does not apply to a volunteer who knowingly
3enters upon or in property, or remains upon or in property,
4after being issued an express command to not enter upon or in
5the property, or an express command to remove or vacate the
6property, by any of the following:
   7a.  An agent of a federal law enforcement agency.
   8b.  An agent of a federal, state, or local emergency
9management agency.
   10c.  A peace officer.
   11d.  A member of the state military called into state active
12duty pursuant to section 29A.8, subsection 1, paragraph “c”.
   13e.  The owner, lessee, or person in lawful possession of the
14property.
15EXPLANATION
16The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with
17the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly.
   18This bill relates to immunity from civil liability for
19disaster response by volunteers who enter upon or in private
20property without express consent of the owner, lessee, or
21person in lawful possession.
   22“Volunteer” is defined in the bill as an individual who is
23not part of a recognized voluntary organization, may have no
24formal training in emergency response, and comes to provide
25assistance in a disaster response, and an individual who
26has a preexisting affiliation with a recognized voluntary
27or nonprofit organization, is trained for specific disaster
28response activities, and is invited by that organization to
29become involved in the disaster response. All such volunteers
30are uncompensated.
   31A volunteer may enter property in response to a disaster if
32the governor has issued a proclamation of a disaster emergency,
33an emergency exists on the property or is directly affecting
34the property, a reasonable effort has been made to contact or
35locate the owner, lessee, or person in lawful possession of
-3-1the property to obtain express consent to enter the property,
2and entry is made in good faith. “Property” is defined in the
3bill as any land, dwelling, building, or other temporary or
4permanent structure that is privately owned. “Disaster” and
5“emergency” are also defined in the bill.
   6A volunteer who enters property under such circumstances is
7immune from civil liability for acts or omissions in good faith
8by the volunteer while upon or in the property, unless such
9acts or omissions constitute recklessness, willful misconduct,
10or gross negligence. Such volunteer has also not committed
11criminal mischief pursuant to Code section 716.1 or trespass
12pursuant to Code section 716.7. The owner, lessee, or person
13in lawful possession of the property is immune from civil
14liability for good-faith acts or omissions causing for personal
15injury to, or the death of, a volunteer unless such acts or
16omissions constitute recklessness, willful misconduct, or gross
17negligence.
   18The bill does not apply to a volunteer who knowingly
19enters the property, or remains on the property, after being
20told not to enter the property, or told to remove or vacate
21the property, by an agent of a federal, state, or local law
22enforcement agency or emergency management, a peace officer, a
23member of the state military, or the owner, lessee, or person
24in lawful possession of the property.
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