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Gov. Branstad signs bill into law that protects municipalities from some lawsuits

Iowa capitol
Iowa capitol
DES MOINES – Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad this week signed a bill that provides for an exemption from municipal tort liability for claims arising from recreational activities on municipality-controlled property.

Under current law municipalities are exempt from liability for claims based upon negligent design, specification, construction or reconstruction of a public facility designed for skateboarding, in-line skating, bicycling, unicycling, scootering, river rafting, canoeing or kayaking.
This bill extends tort-liability exemption to claims related to negligent design, specification, construction or reconstruction of a public facility designed for any recreational activity. House File 570 removes the list of activities.

Current law also protects municipalities from tort liability related to claims based upon acts or omissions of a municipality officer or employee, by a person who is injured while skateboarding, in-line skating, bicycling, unicycling, scootering, river rafting, canoeing or kayaking on municipal property if the person knew, or reasonably should have known, the activity created a substantial risk and the person voluntarily placed themselves at risk and the injury resulted from the risk inherent with the activity.

The bill extends the tort-liability exemption from injuries a person suffers while participating in any recreational activity, if that injury results from the normal and expected risks inherent in the activity.

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