MACo: Proposed Change To Tort Laws Misses the Mark

MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson today testified before the House Judiciary Committee in opposition to HB 353 Civil Actions – Violation of Rights – Government Liability. This bill allows courts to rule judgments against individuals officers rather than their employer, the government agency.

From the MACo Testimony:

HB 353, apparently in pursuit of individual officer accountability, seems to unravel much of this balance. Broadly enabling judgments against individual officers creates a veneer of promoting best practices by each officer, but surely could result in a practically uncollectible dollar figure beyond the
capacity of the officer. A massive judgment, adorned with attorney fees, fully or partially levied against a single officer, likely fails to address any of the bill’s goals of fairer justice, best police practices, or eventual compensation of any injured plaintiff.

The General Assembly, principally within this Committee, is contemplating a series of measures to alter training, screening, transparency, and accountability measures for law enforcement officers. MACo submits that these balanced efforts, developed into a workable comprehensive reform package, represent the best overall path toward the policy goals HB 353 appears to favor.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2021 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.