Sen. Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, and the bill's lead sponsor, said that the bill is intended to make sure the law stays the same and judges aren't influenced by the Restatement of Torts.
"The purpose of the bill is to make sure there is no change,'' Palumbo said. "The current law in West Virginia is you owe a duty of care to invited guests but the duty to trespassers is much, much lower, much different. This bill is saying that's how we think it should stay.''
George Christie, a professor at Duke University School of Law, said that the intentions of the Restatement of Torts are admirable, but because "flagrant trespassers'' is left undefined, there could be unintended consequences.
"I have doubts,'' Christie wrote, "as to whether the solution chosen will fulfill the expectations of its drafters."
Since the Restatement of Torts was published, 11 states have responded by passing statutes codifying their existing common law. Many of those states worked off of model legislation proposed by the American Legislative Exchange Council.
ALEC is an organization of legislators, businesses and foundations that proposes and promotes conservative and free-market policy ideas to state legislatures around the country.
The language in the West Virginia bill is strikingly similar, almost identical in places, to a piece of model legislation written by ALEC.
Palumbo said he was not sure if they had worked with ALEC on the bill. Amy Anderson, an ALEC spokeswoman, said she had not been contacted by anyone in West Virginia.