Search and rescue

Permits a government attorney to litigate the reimbursement of
part or all of the costs of a search and rescue operation. (SD1)

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.           H.D. 1
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                S.D. 1
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                     A BILL FOR AN ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that individuals
 2 frequently choose to ignore or completely disregard warnings
 3 posted by state and county public safety and civil defense
 4 agencies.  There are many examples of search and rescue efforts
 5 in the Hawaiian islands that were required because those being
 6 rescued chose to ignore official warnings.  In addition to the
 7 high costs involved, first responders risk serious injury and
 8 death in often heroic efforts to save these individuals.
 9      The legislature also finds that state and county governments
10 should claim reimbursement from offenders who clearly were warned
11 and chose to disregard these warnings and whose actions directly
12 contributed to the incident.
13      The purpose of this Act is to permit the attorney general or
14 a county corporation counsel to recover part or all of the costs
15 of a search and rescue operation.
16      SECTION 2.  The Hawaii Revised Statutes is amended by adding
17 a new chapter to be appropriately designated and to read as
18 follows:
19                             "CHAPTER

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                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 1
                                                        S.D. 1

 2        -1  Definitions.  As used in this chapter, unless the
 3 context otherwise requires:
 4      "Governmental entity" means any unit of the federal, state,
 5 or county government that conducts or has authority to conduct
 6 search and rescue activities of any kind.
 7      "Official warnings or notices" means any and all warnings or
 8 notices posted on any type of sign, poster, or flyer, published
 9 in any type of publication, or broadcast or transmitted over any
10 other electronic means of communication including radio,
11 television, telephone, computer, satellite, loudspeaker, or any
12 instructions or orders given by any authorized government
13 official to any person or persons.
14      "Private enterprise" means any private individual, company,
15 corporation, trust, organization, or entity that conducts,
16 sponsors, carries on, or promotes activities in return for any
17 consideration.
18      "Search and rescue expenses" includes:
19      (1)  All personnel expenses incurred including any and all
20           hours worked, salaries, employment-related benefits,
21           and any other personnel costs;
22      (2)  All equipment expenses including actual rental or lease
23           expenses and a reasonable fee for use, repair, or

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                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 1
                                                        S.D. 1

 1           replacement of equipment;
 2      (3)  All fuel expenses;
 3      (4)  All expenses paid, or to be paid, to another
 4           governmental entity, private entity, or person for any
 5           assistance provided by the governmental entity, private
 6           entity, or person; and
 7      (5)  All other expenses of any kind, nature, source, or
 8           relationship relating to search and rescue operations.
 9        -2  Search and rescue costs.(a)  Whenever any
10 governmental entity conducts search and rescue activities for the
11 benefit of hikers, climbers, hunters, swimmers, divers, surfers,
12 bodyboarders, skimboarders, bungee jumpers, or other users of:
13      (1)  National parks;
14      (2)  Lava fields or areas of active volcanic activity;
15      (3)  Wilderness areas;
16      (4)  Unpopulated forested or mountainous recreational areas;
17      (5)  All waterways and ocean waters within this State and
18           the jurisdictional limits of the State; provided that
19           this section shall not apply to boaters; or
20      (6)  Any other property, facility, or structure;
21 and incurs any search and rescue expenses, the governmental
22 entity, in turn, may seek reimbursement from the person or the
23 person's parents, guardian, custodian, estate, or any person,

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                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 1
                                                        S.D. 1

 1 business, group, organization, or entity responsible for the
 2 person's safety.
 3      (b)  The reimbursement under subsection (a) may be sought,
 4 if the need for the search and rescue operation was caused by one
 5 of the following:
 6      (1)  Violation of any applicable federal or state law or
 7           county ordinance by the person; or
 8      (2)  Any act or omission by the person searched for or
 9           rescued that shows wanton and reckless misconduct in
10           disregard for the person's safety.
11        -3  Search and rescue costs stemming from any private
12 enterprise.  Any search and rescue expenses incurred by a
13 governmental entity for search and rescue efforts stemming from
14 any private enterprise activity conducted for consideration shall
15 be reimbursed by the private enterprise.
16        -4  Reimbursement.(a)  Whenever any governmental
17 entity seeks reimbursement of any search and rescue expenses, the
18 governmental entity may bring an action in any appropriate court
19 in the State; provided the reimbursement sought shall not in any
20 case exceed the total cost incurred for the search and rescue
21 operation.
22      (b)  This chapter is not intended to restrict or diminish
23 the right of any government entity to settle or compromise its

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                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 1
                                                        S.D. 1

 1 rights provided in this chapter."
 2      SECTION 3.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.