SB 381

84(R) - 2015
Senate State Affairs
Senate State Affairs
Parks and Wildlife
State Affairs

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Neutral
  • Positive


Carlos Uresti

Bill Caption

Relating to tort liability arising from a volunteer's operation of a Parks and Wildlife Department motor-driven vehicle or motor-driven equipment.

Fiscal Notes

No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.

Bill Analysis

SB 381 exempts volunteers from liability that may arise while driving a vehicle or equipment owned or leased by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). TPWD is liable for damages as long as the volunteer is operating a vehicle within assigned duties given by TPWD, and he or she was not operating the vehicle in a negligent or reckless manner at the time of an accident. Additionally, TPWD's liability is limited under Section 101.023(a) of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code: No more than $250,000 to each person, no more than $500,000 to each occurrence of bodily injury or death, and no more than $100,000 for property damage. 

Vote Recommendation Notes

SB 381 protects the individual liberty of volunteers, who are operating TPWD vehicles or motor-driven equipment, by making the department liable for their actions. However, if a volunteer acts negligently or recklessly during the scope of their duties this legislation holds that person liable, not TPWD. It is important to remember that by limiting the liability of volunteers it makes it easier for the public to volunteer for the department. For these reasons, we support SB 381 since it holds a person accountable for their actions but still maintains their liberty by holding TPWD liable in accidents in which the volunteer was not negligent. 

Organizations Supporting

Friends of Enchanted Rock
Game Warden Peace Officers Association
Texans for State Parks
Texas Conference of Urban Counties
Texas League of Conservation Voters