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Outdoors groups file complaint after bill changes

April 10, 2014 - 1:58pm

HONOLULU — Rock climbers, mountain bikers and other outdoors enthusiasts have filed an ethics complaint against a key Hawaii House lawmaker over changes her committee made to a trails bill.

The bill would have guarded the state from lawsuits if hikers, paragliders and others get hurt on state-owned land. Outdoors enthusiasts supported the bill. They hoped it would allow the state to reopen lands that have been closed since people suffered accidents and sued.

Rep. Sylvia Luke, a Democrat representing Maikiki, moved a stripped-down version of out of the House Finance Committee, removing some protections.

The complaint filed Thursday alleges Luke’s work as a personal injury attorney affected her decisions as committee chairwoman.

Luke says there’s no conflict. She says waivers for public land access would better protect the state from lawsuits.