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Senate, Assembly pass unruly camper bill

In the past two days the state Senate and Assembly have passed a bill clarifying the legal grounds for a campground to remove disruptive guests, and the legislation now will be sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for final consideration.

Under the proposed law, a campground owner could request a law enforcement officer remove a guest who willfully denies other guests their right to quiet enjoyment of the campground, including: threatening or endangering other guests, possessing illegal drugs, violating state or local laws or violating campground rules and regulations that are posted and part of the occupancy agreement.

The bill has been sponsored by state Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, for numerous years at the request of the Campground Owners of New York.

“It provides legal parameters and would bring campgrounds in line with what can be done at hotels and motels when guests become disruptive and a threat to other guests,” Little said.

Assemblyman Billy Jones, D-Chateaugay, sponsored the companion bill in his house, which passed the Assembly on Tuesday.

“Campgrounds should be fun and welcoming spaces where people are able to get out in nature and explore,” Jones said. “But it’s important that visitors respect the shared space and their fellow campers. It can be a lengthy and drawn-out process to remove campers who are unruly, overstay their reservation or fail to pay. We crafted this legislation to make this process easier and ensure all parties are treated fairly.”

A guest would need to receive from the campground owner or staff a written warning first and could be removed by law enforcement if the conduct persisted. A person removed from a campground would be entitled to a refund of the unused portion of any prepaid fees.

The legislation also provides a clear way to dispose of property that is left behind by a camper who is either removed from a campground or abandons property on a campground.

The guest’s property would either be stored on the campsite or placed in storage, and they would be notified via certified mail to retrieve any belongings. The measure also clarifies that campgrounds are for recreational, camping, travel or seasonal use and are not subject to eviction procedures.