Revision: April 19, 2012, midnight
HB 514 – AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE
HOUSE BILL 514
This bill prohibits certain entry on private property for data gathering without a warrant or the consent of the landowner.
This bill also establishes a committee to study issues relating to entry on private land.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [
in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eleven
AN ACT relative to entry on private land and establishing a committee to study issues relating to entry on private land.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
1 Purpose. The purpose of this act is to set guidelines for entry by conservation commissions or their designees onto private property for data gathering for conservation and natural resource inventory purposes and for the publication of such data, and to ensure that property owners are informed of data gathering on their property. These guidelines do not supercede guidelines already established by state agencies as they may be modified from time to time, but establish guidelines for conservation projects at the regional, local, and individual level.
2 Conservation Commissions; Powers. Amend RSA 36-A:4 to read as follows:
I. Said commission may receive gifts of money, personal property, real property, and water rights, either within or outside the boundaries of the municipality, by gift, grant, bequest, or devise, subject to the approval of the local governing body, such gifts to be managed and controlled by the commission for the purposes of this section. Said commission may acquire in the name of the city or town, subject to the approval of the local governing body, by purchase, the fee in such land or water rights within the boundaries of the municipality, or any lesser interest, development right, easement, covenant, or other contractual right including conveyances with conditions, limitations, or reversions, as may be necessary to acquire, maintain, improve, protect, or limit the future use of or otherwise conserve and properly utilize open spaces and other land and water areas within their city or town, and shall manage and control the same, but the city or town or commission shall not have the right to condemn property for these purposes.
II. No commission, its members, or designee shall enter private property to gather data about the property for use in a wetlands designation, prime wetlands designation, natural resource inventory report or map, or natural heritage map without first obtaining permission of the property owner or agent, or a lawfully issued warrant. Such permission may be oral or written, provided that record is made of oral authorization. If consent for entry is denied, the conservation commission, or designee, may obtain an administrative inspection warrant under RSA 595-B.
III. Prior to requesting permission, the commission, its members, or designee shall notify the landowner of the purpose of the data gathering, the specific features that will be evaluated, the manner in which the data collected will be recorded and distributed, and possible known consequences of the data collection.
IV. No data gathered by entering property without the permission of the landowner or an administrative warrant shall be used for any purpose other than law enforcement purposes authorized by statute.
3 Committee Established. There is established a committee to study entry onto private property, posting, trespassing, and the definition of recreational uses of private land.
4 Membership and Compensation.
I. The members of the committee shall be 5 members of the house of representatives, one of whom shall be a member of the house judiciary committee, one of whom shall be a member of the municipal and county government committee, one of whom shall be a member of the environment and agriculture committee, and one of whom shall be a member of the resources, recreation and development committee, appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives.
II. Members of the committee shall receive mileage at the legislative rate when attending to the duties of the committee.
5 Duties of the Committee. The committee shall study:
I. The definition of recreational uses of private land by the public and clarification of activities allowed on land which is not posted as well as on land which is posted.
II. The adequacy and consistency of local and state policies as they relate to entry on private land, collection and publication of data on private land, and the ownership of such data.
III. The opportunities for integration of state policies regarding data collection, mapping, and publication of data collected from private and public lands.
IV. The potential legal, fiscal, regulatory, and technical obstacles for creating an integrated approach toward access to and data collection on private land.
V. The rights and responsibilities of persons entering onto private property.
VI. The adequacy of statutes regarding manner of posting.
VII. The definition of and remedies for trespassing on private property.
VIII. The opportunity for the landowner to challenge the data or findings.
6 Chairperson; Quorum. The members of the study committee shall elect a chairperson from among the members. The first meeting of the committee shall be called by the first-named member. The first meeting of the committee shall be held within 45 days of the effective date of this section. Three members of the committee shall constitute a quorum.
7 Report. The committee shall report its findings and any recommendations for proposed legislation to the president of the senate, the speaker of the house of representatives, the senate clerk, the house clerk, the governor, and the state library on or before November 1, 2012.
8 Effective Date. This act shall take effect upon its passage.