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Immunity extended for school districts

Published (5/20/2011)
By Lee Ann Schutz
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Rep. Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake) believes adults and children would be more likely to engage in physical activity if schools were more comfortable allowing outside groups to use their recreational amenities.

He sponsors HF1343 that would clarify a statute that provides civil immunity for school districts that make their facilities available for recreational use by the public. The immunity would bar a person from holding the district liable for an injury or loss resulting from the use of the school facility for recreational activity.

The bill was passed 129-3 by the House May 16. It now awaits action by the full Senate, where Sen. Ted Daley (R-Eagan) is the sponsor.

“This is a continuation of the effort of solving the problem of childhood obesity,” Dettmer said. “The American Heart Association brought the idea forward. It removes a barrier for schools to allow the facilities to be used for recreational purposes.”

The bill does not change current law regarding a school district’s liability in allowing public use of its recreational spaces, Dettmer said, but offers comfort language to help clarify the civil immunity.

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