amends current law regarding tort liability claims against the state and local government entities.
increases the per-occurrence limit on the collectability of judgments against government entities from $300,000 to $500,000 and eliminates the $200,000-per-claimant limit.
allows government entities to settle claims in any amount without the approval of a claim bill by the Legislature to the extent of insurance coverage.
outlines in what instance the state and local governments are liable to pay for compensatory damages.
ties sovereign immunity caps to a Consumer Price Index to be adjusted each year on July 1 of each year, beginning in 2021.
CS/SB 1302 Talking Points
Significant Increase to Liability.By increasing the sovereign immunity cap and allowing the settlement and payment of claims exceeding the cap without the necessity of a claim bill, the state and its agencies and subdivisions will likely spend more of their resources to satisfy tort claims.
Incentivizes Litigation.The ability to collect larger settlements or judgments against government entities may also serve as an incentive for private attorneys to represent claimants in these matters.
Circumvents Purpose of Sovereign Immunity.By prohibiting the conditioning of the payment of insurance proceeds on the approval of a claim bill, the bill will likely result in an increase in insurance premiums for government entities that purchase liability insurance. The increased costs may act as a disincentive to purchase insurance.
Uncertain Financial Impacts. Increasing liability exposure may cause a financial hardship for smaller or fiscally constrained government entities.
Governments Need Sovereign Immunity. One of the reasons governmental entities need sovereign immunity is so they can carry out their police powers and provide for health, safety, and welfare of the general public without the constant threat of lawsuits putting tax dollars at risk. The bill creates uncertainty as to when sovereign immunity will apply and has the potential to create many unintended consequences leaving taxpayers to pay the bill.
Contact David Cruz via email or at 850.701.3676 with any questions.
Please contact members of this committee and urge them to Oppose CS/SB 1302!