Utah Lawmaker Plans Amusement Park Oversight Bill

January 23, 2019

A state lawmaker plans to again propose legislation that would add oversight of amusement parks in Utah, one of only six states where an agency isn’t assigned to keep tabs on the parks.

Republican state Rep. Val Potter sponsored a bill last year that would have created an oversight commission, required mandatory inspections and created an avenue for the public to report dangerous situations, KUTV-TV reported Wednesday.

“We just need to know that they’re meeting the basic standard,” Potter said. “That’s what the bill requires.”

Potter, who has worked in the amusement ride industry for 14 years, said his bill failed last year in part because of pushback from some parks, including Lagoon amusement park in Farmington.

In a statement, Lagoon said it’s not opposed to oversight, and it has previously supported Potter’s effort.

“It is our understanding that Rep. Potter proposes that these regulations be under the jurisdiction of the Department of Labor,” the park said. “However, Lagoon and Utah’s ski resorts already have amusement rides, which are currently regulated by the Department of Transportation, Utah Passenger Ropeway Safety Committee. We feel that the Department of Transportation is the best place for the bill to reside and this is where our only disagreement lies.”

Potter said he is working on a new version of the bill for this year.

The revised legislation could potentially change oversight of the inspections. It will still require safety inspections, operators to carry liability insurance and to report serious injuries to authorities, Potter said.

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