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Landowner liability protection close

As the General Assembly scrambles to settle major issues by Friday, it also might pass comprehensive recreational liability legislation. SB1042, House Amendment 1, was expected to come out of the House Judiciary Committee late Tuesday.

‘‘Protecting landowners costs the state nothing and provides more access to nature for more people,’’ sponsor Ann Williams (D-Chicago) said.

After years of effort by major conservation groups, with help from Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and Williams, an agreement appears to be in place with the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association on language.

‘‘This agreement, which is the result of months of negotiations, should provide protection for the generous landowners who open their properties to the public,’’ Harmon said.

In 2005, the law was rewritten to protect only landowners who granted permission for hunting and recreational shooting. That left landowners at risk for allowing fishing, hiking, bird-watching, swimming, sledding, foraging or shed hunting.

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