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S. 1181 - Good Samaritan Search and Recovery Act

Sponsor: Dean Heller (R)
Introduced: 2017-05-18
Bill Status: Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 373.
 

Good Samaritan Search and Recovery Act

This bill directs the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to implement a process to provide eligible organizations and individuals expedited access to federal land to conduct good Samaritan search-and-recovery missions, which are searches for one or more missing individuals believed to be deceased at the time that the search is initiated.

The bill sets forth procedures for the approval or denial of requests made by eligible organizations or individuals to carry out a good Samaritan search-and-recovery mission.

Interior and USDA shall develop search-and-recovery focused partnerships with search-and-recovery organizations to coordinate good Samaritan search-and-recovery missions, and expedite and accelerate mission efforts for missing individuals.

Full Text


115th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. 1181


    To direct the Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Agriculture to expedite access to certain Federal land under the administrative jurisdiction of each Secretary for good Samaritan search-and-recovery missions, and for other purposes.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 18, 2017

    Mr. Heller (for himself and Mr. Warner) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources


A BILL

    To direct the Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Agriculture to expedite access to certain Federal land under the administrative jurisdiction of each Secretary for good Samaritan search-and-recovery missions, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Good Samaritan Search and Recovery Act”.

SEC. 2. Expedited access to certain Federal land.

(a) Definitions.—In this section:

(1) ELIGIBLE.—The term “eligible”, with respect to an organization or individual, means that the organization or individual, respectively, is—

(A) acting in a not-for-profit capacity; and

(B) certificated in training that meets or exceeds standards established by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

(2) GOOD SAMARITAN SEARCH-AND-RECOVERY MISSION.—The term “good Samaritan search-and-recovery mission” means a search for one or more missing individuals believed to be deceased at the time that the search is initiated.

(3) SECRETARY.—The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture, as applicable.

(b) Process.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Each Secretary shall develop and implement a process to expedite access to Federal land under the administrative jurisdiction of the Secretary for eligible organizations and individuals to request access to Federal land to conduct good Samaritan search-and-recovery missions.

(2) INCLUSIONS.—The process developed and implemented under this subsection shall include provisions to clarify that—

(A) an eligible organization or individual granted access under this section—

(i) shall be acting for private purposes; and

(ii) shall not be considered to be a Federal volunteer;

(B) an eligible organization or individual conducting a good Samaritan search-and-recovery mission under this section shall not be considered to be a volunteer under section 102301(c) of title 54, United States Code;

(C) chapter 171 of title 28, United States Code (commonly known as the “Federal Tort Claims Act”), shall not apply to an eligible organization or individual carrying out a privately requested good Samaritan search-and-recovery mission under this section; and

(D) chapter 81 of title 5, United States Code (commonly known as the “Federal Employees Compensation Act”), shall not apply to an eligible organization or individual conducting a good Samaritan search-and-recovery mission under this section, and the conduct of the good Samaritan search-and-recovery mission shall not constitute civilian employment.

(c) Release of Federal Government from liability.—The Secretary shall not require an eligible organization or individual to have liability insurance as a condition of accessing Federal land under this section, if the eligible organization or individual—

(1) acknowledges and consents, in writing, to the provisions described in subparagraphs (A) through (D) of subsection (b)(2); and

(2) signs a waiver releasing the Federal Government from all liability relating to the access granted under this section.

(d) Approval and denial of requests.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall notify an eligible organization or individual of the approval or denial of a request by the eligible organization or individual to carry out a good Samaritan search-and-recovery mission under this section by not later than 48 hours after the request is made.

(2) DENIALS.—If the Secretary denies a request from an eligible organization or individual to carry out a good Samaritan search-and-recovery mission under this section, the Secretary shall notify the eligible organization or individual of—

(A) the reason for the denial of the request; and

(B) any actions that the eligible organization or individual can take to meet the requirements for the request to be approved.

(e) Partnerships.—Each Secretary shall develop search-and-recovery-focused partnerships with search-and-recovery organizations—

(1) to coordinate good Samaritan search-and-recovery missions on Federal land under the administrative jurisdiction of the Secretary; and

(2) to expedite and accelerate good Samaritan search-and-recovery mission efforts for missing individuals on Federal land under the administrative jurisdiction of the Secretary.

(f) Report.—Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretaries shall submit to Congress a joint report describing—

(1) plans to develop partnerships described in subsection (e)(1); and

(2) efforts carried out to expedite and accelerate good Samaritan search-and-recovery mission efforts for missing individuals on Federal land under the administrative jurisdiction of each Secretary pursuant to subsection (e)(2).


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