Ski resort safety: Local resorts react to Schwarzenegger’s decision to veto bill
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed legislation that would have imposed the nation’s toughest safety standards at California ski slopes, a decision local resorts say will not affect their day-to-day safety-focused operations.Schwarzenegger last Friday signed legislation that would have required helmets for skiers and snowboarders under 18. But the bill, SB880, won’t go into effect because the Republican governor vetoed a companion bill that mandates ski resorts to prepare annual safety plans.In his veto message, Schwarzenegger says the ski resort standards called for in AB1652 would have placed an unnecessary burden on resort operators without any assurance of fewer injuries and fatalities.AB 1652 was authored by assembly member Dave Jones, D-Sacramento, and co-authored by Senator Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, while SB 880 was authored by Yee and co-authored by Jones.”I am very disappointed that the governor vetoed AB 1652 given the fact there was no opposition to the bill,” Jones said. “It is highly unusual for a Governor to substitute his personal judgment about the impact on the industry for the industry’s own judgment. This bill had no opposition because everyone, except for the governor, recognizes how important injury prevention and safety are, especially for children.”AB 1652 was sponsored by the California Ski and Snowboard Safety Organization, founded by Dr. Dan Gregorie.”We fully appreciated the ski industry’s collaboration and support on both AB 1652 and SB 880, bills that would have provided for the use of helmets and increased access to snow sport safety information,” Gregorie said. “By obtaining data specific to the ski resorts, individuals and families would have been able to make informed decisions about their own snow sport experiences.””Many California ski resorts are located on U.S. Forest Service land, and are already required to compile and file safety and accident reports with USFS as well as maintain some of this information in the resort management office,” Schwarzenegger wrote in his veto message. “Ski resorts in California also already mark their ski area boundaries and trails with appropriate information. This bill may place an unnecessary burden on resorts, without assurance of a significant reduction in ski and snowboard-related injuries and fatalities.”While both bills earned at least two-thirds majority to pass through the assembly and senate earlier this year, it was opposed by many Republicans who saw them as forms of “nanny government” that levy a huge burden of policies on California ski resorts that would have to obey the strictest regulations in the nation.