SB 98: Ending Government Immunity


This Bill passed the Senate 26-1 and the House 71-1.

Libertas Institute supports this bill.

Historically under the monarchies of England, the Crown could not be held fully liable when the government caused catastrophic injury or death. Unfortunately today in some states, including Utah, these types of government immunity laws have still not been repealed. When the actions of one of Utah’s 150,000 state or local government employees leads to such a devastating tragedy, there is a cap that prevents individuals and families from being made whole for medical bills, treatments, or even death.

Senator Jani Iwamoto is running Senate Bill 98 to severely weaken Utah’s current government immunity laws by setting up a process by which a citizen can basically appeal to the Utah Legislature’s Executive Appropriations Committee for excess damages beyond the cap. This committee (which normally deals with budgetary matters) would have the authority to award additional payment beyond the cap after deliberating over a submitted claim.

Long-term medical bills after an accident could be financially devastating to any family and normally the Federal government or a private company would compensate the victims of such an accident. Utah’s state and local government offer no such guarantee, but we believe that it is time to start holding them accountable by eliminating the arbitrary cap on government immunity.

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