New Jersey proposed bills S2037 and A1050 would revise the State’s “equine animal activities law in accordance with recommendations of New Jersey Law Revision Commission to clarify responsibility and liability issues.”
The New Jersey Law Revision Commission issued its final report on May 22, 2014 in which it:
[r]ecommend[ed] . . . modification of current statute to address an issue raised by the 2010 New Jersey Supreme Court in Hubner v. Spring Valley Equestrian Center[, 203 N.J. 184 (2010)]. The Court found that the Act’s assumption of risk provisions conflicted with the exceptions to limitations on operator liability. Accordingly, the Act’s assumption of risk provisions have been consolidated and new language emphasizes affirmative duties and responsibilities of equestrian activities operators and participants.
The bills incorporate the Commission’s recommendations which clarifies the responsibility of both the equine operator and participants, similar to sections in sister laws governing skiing and rollerskating.
It looks like this is the second legislative session these bills have been introduced to the New Jersey Legislators.
Historically the equine industry in New Jersey has had a significant economic impact in the State. The Commission, citing reports from Rutgers Equine Science Center stated
[t]he New Jersey equine industry, which is home to 42,500 horses, is valued at $4 billion…producing an annual economic impact of approximately $1.1 billion…and 13,000 jobs. Horses are found on 7,200 facilities in every county statewide which maintain open space of 176,000 acres, which in turn provides an enhanced quality of life for New Jersey residents. Horse operations tend to be more sustainable than other types of agricultural businesses, making the horse industry critical to the growth and land-use strategy of the state.
These statistics were reported in a comprehensive report published by the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station in 2007.
The report included the direct and indirect economic impact related to equine activities.
It would be helpful to receive an update from that now decade-old report, but that should not hinder the movement of these bills through the legislative process until they are hopefully passed and enacted.