The Iowa Senate has turned down a proposal to provide new legal liability protection to landowners.
A 1967 Iowa law grants liability protection to private property owners who allow recreation, like hunting and fishing, on their property. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled in February that liability protection did not extend to a farmer who was giving a farm tour to school children from Oelwein when one of the chaperones was injured by a fall out of a hay loft.
During debate, Senator Tim Kapucian, who farms near Keystone, argued that unless something is done to address the issue, life in Iowa will change.
“Iowans will have less access to huntable ground, less access for mushroom hunting, deer hunting, pheasant hunting,” Kapucian said.
But Senator Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids, who is a lawyer, said the kind of “absolute immunity” from lawsuits outlined in the Senate proposal was “nonsense.”
“Don’t buy into the hysteria about this (court) decision,” Hogg said. “We do not have to immunize anything any farmer—any landowner anywhere in the state—ever does.”
The proposal was defeated by a vote of 26-21.
Radio Iowa contributed to this story.