eNews Jan. 20, 2020 – Action AlertMonday, January 20, 2020 - 05:04pm
Oppose waivers of sovereign immunity
Call this evening or early tomorrow morning to oppose these bills
Sovereign immunity is government’s immunity from being sued while performing government functions which are powers and duties performed exclusively for the public welfare. Two bills in the House would waive sovereign immunity.
HB162 (McGuire & Cole, M.L.) and HB1382 (Campbell, J.L.) create situations where localities would waive their sovereign immunity. HB162 states that if a locality or the Commonwealth creates a firearm-free zone, then the Commonwealth or locality waives its sovereign immunity as it relates to any injuries sustained by persons lawfully present in such a fire-arm free zone. HB1382 adds that a locality will be subject to an ordinary negligence standard for its invitees.
Who to contact immediately
These bills are currently before the Firearms Subcommittee of the House Committee on Public Safety. The subcommittee meets Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. Click on the name of each member of the subcommittee for contact information:
The full committee meets Friday at 8 a.m. Click on the name of each member of the committee for contact information:
- Localities have the authority to regulate the health, welfare and safety of its citizens; this authority should be retained without any legal restraints.
- Any waiver of sovereign immunity, such as those proposed in HB162 and HB1382, should be OPPOSED.
Senate bill also should be opposed this week
In the Senate, SB1009 (Chase) discusses the waiver of sovereign immunity and then adds that the Commonwealth or locality assumes an affirmative duty to protect all invitees and further states that the damages shall not be subject to any limit of liability.
SB1009 is in the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, which meets Mondays at 8 a.m. Click on the name of each member of the committee for contact information:
- Unlimited damages as well as changing the legal standard for localities, such as those proposed in SB1009, should be OPPOSED.
VML Contact: Michelle Gowdy, firstname.lastname@example.org