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Renewed efforts are underway in the state Senate to allow county first-responders to charge outlaw hikers for the cost of rescuing them — and issue criminal fines as well — at a time when government spending is under stress from the fallout of COVID-19.
Senate Bill 363 would require reimbursement from hikers who need to be rescued after leaving a marked trail or ignoring “closed” or “no trespassing” signs. SB 363 also would add new petty misdemeanor penalties for hiking illegally.
Additionally, the reimbursement costs could be billed to each hiker’s estate, guardians or custodians, under SB 363.
A revised version of Senate Bill 700 would merely give county search and rescue teams the option of seeking reimbursement from outlaw hikers.
Hikers get into trouble every year across the islands, requiring them to be plucked to safety by county police and fire department helicopters, equipmen