Property Owners Disclosure Act

Summary

This legislation requires that certain scientific data collected on private property by state environmental officials may not be compiled in a way that identifies the property owner’s land unless expressly authorized by the property owner to do so. Further, incidental environmental information must be disregarded by state environmental officials if such information falls outside the scope of their original reason for entering private property.

Model Policy

Section 1. {Short Title} This Act shall be known as the Property Owner Disclosure Act.

Section 2. {Entering Private Land}

(A) To enforce the game and fish laws of the state and to conduct scientific investigations and research wild game or fish, an authorized employee of the {Insert State Agency} may only enter by invitation, due to alleged criminal activity or probable cause, or by search warrant on any land or water where wild game or fish are known to range or stay. No action may be sustained against an employee of the department to prevent his or her entering on land or water when acting in his official capacity or described by this subsection.

(B) Except as provided by subsection (D), the {Insert State Agency} may use information collected by an employee of the {Insert State Agency} on privately owned land only for the purposes of scientific investigations and research described in subsection (A) and only if authorized in writing by the landowner or the landowner’s agent. Unless the {Insert State Agency} first obtains the written consent of the landowner or the landowner’s agent, the department may not:

(1) use other incidental information obtained on the land that does not pertain directly to the investigation or research authorized under subsection (A); or

(2) enter or permit entry of any information that does not pertain directly to the investigation or research authorized under subsection (A) into a database:

(a) maintained by the department and available to a person other than a department employee;

(b) maintained by a natural heritage program administered by the department; or

(c) established and maintained by any other person.

(C) Except as provided in subsection (D), the information under this section may only be reported or compiled in a manner that prevents the identification of an individual parcel or specific parcels of private property without written consent of the landowner or the landowner’s agent..

(D) The {Insert State Agency} may collect and enter data as necessary relating to the occurrence or harvest of natural resources in public land or water. The department may collect and report standardized annual wildlife survey information required by the Federal Pitman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act.

(E) The {Insert State Agency} is liable to a private landowner for a civil penalty in the amount of {Insert Amount} for an unintentional violation and for not less than {Insert Amount} for an intentional violation of this section involving information collected by an employee of the department on the landowner’s property. A landowner may bring suit to collect the penalty in the county in which the land is located or the county in which the landowner resides. These fines will be drawn from the budget of the offending department or agency. In the case of intentional violations, the offending individual shall be fined.

Section 3. {Severability clause}

Section 4. {Repealer clause}

Section 5. {Effective date}

Approved by ALEC Board of Directors in 1996.

Reapproved by ALEC Board of Directors on January 28, 2013.

Keyword Tags: Energy Environment and Agriculture Task Force, Property