IHCM Update

SB 117 & the Danger of Sovereign Immunity

Feb 14, 2023

Missouri Senate bill 117 (or SB 117), sponsored by Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer (District 34) is waiting to be debated on the floor of the Missouri Senate.

This bill severely blocks the public’s access to the judicial system by protecting those who are guilty of negligence, especially those who partner with government.

Watch this video overview of SB 117:

This bill would do three things that severely limit your natural rights

  1. Reduce the statute of limitations for personal injury actions and actions against an insurer for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Currently actions for personal injury must be brought within five years from the time the injury occurred. This bill reduces the statute of limitations for personal injury (injury to the person’s body or their rights) from five years to two. This reduction favors the defendant in a suit by making it harder for a plaintiff to attend to their injury, find a lawyer and get organized to sue quickly.
  2. Give private contractors the same immunity as public entities. This act provides that a private contractors, when acting within the scope of a government contract, shall have the same sovereign or governmental torte immunity as a public entity. This extends the state’s sovereign immunity to private entities. The state cannot be sued for negligence unless it consents. Damages are limited to actual damages, no punitive damages and there is a cap that’s adjusted annually.
  3. Expands the reach of public/private partnerships. Private companies, unlike governments, are in business to make a profit. They will cut corners and save costs if they have sovereign immunity. Without liability, negligence and harm to the public will increase. The financial burden will fall on the individual harmed and their family. It will also adversely affect competition and those private companies who aren’t
    in public/private partnerships will be incentivized to partner with government.

    Another related issue is transparency. Government is subject to FOIA and Sunshine laws. Private businesses are not. In the federal government where most government functions are run by private contractors, the workings of government and the finances are now hidden because private contractors don’t answer to the public.

    This bill is currently on the informal Senate calendar, but could be moved to the formal calendar at any time. Please help us stop SB 117.

    What YOU Can Do…

    Call your Missouri Senator (you can find yours here: Tell them to vote NO on SB 117 if it comes to the Senate floor.

    Call Senator Tony Luetkemeyer and tell him you strongly oppose his bill, SB 117.

    Senator Tony Luetkemeyer: 573-751-2183

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