The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on HB 890, State and Local Policy Officers- Liability Insurance- Required, on March 12, 2015; in which, MACo Legal and Policy Counsel, Les Knapp, testified in opposition. This bill imposes a liability insurance mandate on law enforcement officers (that appears impossible to be able to comply with) and significantly increases the costs of county government that provide reimbursement for an officer’s liability insurance.
From the written testimony:
As the bill’s fiscal note indicates, a county government that chooses to reimburse their law enforcement officers for the liability insurance, even if it is only for the base rate as mandated by the bill, would face significant new costs. LGIT indicates that the current annual base rate for an employed law enforcement officer who has liability insurance under an employer’s pool policy is $819. HB 890 requires officers to obtain insurance prior to employment, forcing them to obtain individual coverage. Combined with the provision requiring coverage for malicious acts, the base rate would be far higher for even officers with spotless records.
Citing that the bill had a drafting error, bill-sponsor Delegate Jill Carter offered amendments at the hearing that would turn the bill into a task force to study the issue. Knapp expressed reservations about the general idea of an insurance mandate but noted that if the Committee were to move the amended bill, MACo would want to be one of the identified participants.
For more on MACo 2015 legislation, visit the Legislative Database.