SOMETHING'S JUST NOT RIGHT
Often when I'm out talking to Missourians across the state, we have conversations regarding things that just don't seem right, although we have a hard time putting our finger on exactly what's wrong. It feels like we are losing our freedoms and yet we can't exactly pinpoint the moment they were lost or how it happened.
I've got something for you to consider.
THIS BILL ISN'T TOO BAD
It happens often that bills are passed because they "aren't too bad." They may have a decent thing or two and maybe something great but usually they've got concessions in them as well. They are seen by legislators as a "net win" even though there are concerns or possible issues. Lawmakers love to say that no bill can be perfect and we just do the best we can.
But would you eat a brownie with a tiny bit of dog poop mixed in to the batter? Because, unless I was saving my kids, I really don't want ANY amount of dog poop in my food.
Now for my kids? I'll eat a pile of poop.
But otherwise, that's a big NO.
THE VIEW FROM ABOVE
If you look at one bill at a time, you may see a tiny bit of dog poop and choose to look the other way if you feel the benefit outweighs the poop. But if you look at the big picture and see that all these tiny turds amount to one big pile of crap, you realize that passing one turd is a huge problem!
The following is a list of Republican sponsored bills in the legislature NOW that are chipping away at your individual liberty. If you look at them individually, it probably doesn't feel like a real big deal. If you look at them collectively, I think you may feel differently.
the nutshell version
Here's the list. Click on the link to read a separate article with more details and action steps on each of these issues.
SB 117- Tort Reform & Sovereign Immunity. We are losing time in the statute of limitations on personal liability and they are giving sovereign immunity to every private contractor doing business with any public entity in the state. This elevates government related business and squashes Missourians. The law makers will tell you it's good because they need to reduce frivolous lawsuits and unclog the court system. They say it's good. I say it's 100% dog poop brownies.
Privacy Acts - There are more than one. These are elevating elected officials and protecting them at the expense of our first amendment right of free speech. The penalty is up to 5 years in prison & up to $10,000 in fines. Again...protecting and elevating government officials and squashing Missourians. Of course, they love it and think it's a great thing. And again I say there's a bunch of dog poop in the batter here.
Sunshine Law - Senator Andrew Koenig wants to make it harder for citizens to get transparent information from the government by revising our Sunshine Law. And again...elevating government and squashing Missourians. Even if this one stood alone, it's nothing but a huge pile of crap. Keeping Missourians in the dark and giving elected officials places to hide is nothing but a breeding ground for even more corruption.
See a pattern here??
If you want to know more, click on the link to get the details on each issue and the actions you can take to help. Yes, I know. It's a lot of work and it takes time. I think the ones who fought & died for this freedom would say that this is the least we could do.
TORT REFORM & SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY
SB 117 sponsored by Senator Tony Luetkemeyer does 3 things and they are all BAD.
- Reduces the statute of limitations on personal liability from 5 years to 2 years. This means that if someone causes you harm, you've got 2 years to file suit against them to recoup your losses. If you ask, the republicans will say we need these tort reform bills to avoid "frivolous lawsuits." However, reducing statute of limitations is also pushing citizens to file suits sooner and not giving them ample time to settle outside of court.
Maybe in some cases, two years is enough. However, in many cases it's not. What about if your kids are enduring surgeries, therapies or recovering from trauma? Two years isn't enough and you are left with no ability to financially recover from whatever harm has been done.
- Reduces the statute of limitations regarding uninsured and underinsured motorists insurance from 10 years to 2 years. Again - who is this benefiting? Not citizens. Have you ever had to deal with insurance companies regarding an underinsured motorist situation? If you start asking your friends, it won't take you long to find out that two years is definitely not enough.
- Sovereign Immunity. IMHO this is the worst part of the bill even though I already hate it. Senator Leutkemeyer wants to give sovereign immunity to every private contractor doing business with any public entity in the state. This would apply to state government, public schools, public colleges, MU healthcare, all municipal governments, fire districts, etc. Definition & examples below.
- "Sovereign Immunity" means there is NO liability. They are completely immune from any. liability issues except for two things: 1) car wrecks where a state vehicle is involved and the driver is at fault, and 2) state facilities are in disrepair and someone is hurt
- Road construction crews. Accidents due to lack of oversight on construction site? Sorry - they're not responsible. You may be dead or have dead family members, severely handicapped, car totaled, kids hurt...doesn't matter. It's on you and there's no recourse.
- Public school contracts. Think playground equipment, data management, computer hardware & software, athletic equipment, busses & transportation service.... something happen to your kiddo? Sorry. It's not their fault.
- MU Healthcare. No more malpractice of any type for any doctors contracted with that hospital. Did they. make a mistake with a knee surgery and you got a faulty joint replacement? Sorry. It's not their problem. You're on your own.
- Firefighters. Got a faulty oxygen tank and a firefighter is now injured for life? Can't help you. It's not their fault.
- And the is goes on and on and on and on. The list is so long it's mind-boggling!
In essence, this bill is creating two classes of people.
1) Citizens with nearly no rights to actually be compensated for personal harm being done, and
2) private businesses contracting with the state government who have COMPLETE immunity from any harm they might do.
Talk about class warfare!
SB 117 has already passed through committee and is heading for the senate floor for debate and perfection. This means we have only one more chance to stop it before it leaves the Senate and goes to the House.
PLEASE call and email your own senator as well as all our more conservative or new senators who, I hope, will work together to stop the from going any further.
Senator Mike Moon. firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Bill Eigel. email@example.com
Senator Rick Brattin. firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Jill Carter. email@example.com
Senator Ben Brown. firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Denny Hoskins. email@example.com
I hear often that our freedoms and our rights are eroding away. How can that be?
The Constitution hasn't changed. The actual Bill of Rights hasn't changed.
Technically, in most ways, nothing has changed in so far as what our government sees as "inalienable rights."
And yet...things are changing. Government is getting bigger and it feels like the voices of the majority of "We The People" are getting weaker.
Several things are happening, but one of the issues that is happening behind the scenes and unbeknownst to nearly everyone is a shift in our statutes regarding civil liability.
If you intentionally or even mistakenly injure someone physically or damage someone's property, you could end up being responsible for paying the other person's losses. This is known as civil liability.
If our founding documents and our legislative process spell out your inalienable rights and add them to our statutes, then it is the court system that is the tool used to implement those rights when they have been infringed upon. After all, if you aren't able to exercise your rights or protect them, then you don't really have them, do you?
The courts are where grievances of all types are redressed.
The definition of redress is: 1) to set right. Remedy. 2) to make up for. Compensate.
You have a right of redress when someone has harmed you in some way. The legal way this is done is through the civil court system. The one who harms you is held liable for the damages. This is civil liability.
When the legislature begins to remove your ability to redress your grievances through the court system, they are infringing on your ability to set things right or be compensated for your loss.
The courts are the tool we use to enforce MANY of our individual liberties if we have been harmed by another person.
you're losing your right to sue someone who has harmed you
The Missouri legislators are quietly removing your rights to redress grievances. It's been happening for a while.
In 2021, the Missouri legislature passed SB 51, a Covid Liability bill. I worked throughout that session against the bill and we gave it a good fight but the medical lobby won in the end.
I know it's not the fault of one player when a team loses, but I will forever remember the one representative who brought the bill up again in a rules committee with a procedural maneuver and then another flipped his no vote to a yes, which was the lynch pin holding it back. Within a day, maybe less, it was a done deal and headed to the Governor's office.
That bill in '21 gave hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacists, and big business total immunity from liability with anything at all related to Covid. But guess what? Not you. You aren't immune. Small businesses aren't immune. Churches aren't immune. But if your elderly mom was neglected in a nursing home when you couldn't get in to see her - you're out of luck and your mom is probably dead.
They call it "tort reform" and say that they are trying to unburden our courts.
But what does that actually do? It creates two tiers. The ones who have no accountability & the ones who do.
If you have no accountability and can't be held liable, you are free to cut corners, do whatever you want and potentially do harm without any consequences.
However, if you aren't in that group that is immune then guess what? You'd better mind your P's and Q's. You might find yourself paying out big.
Sound fair?? Not to me, it doesn't.
sb 117 by Senator tony luetkemeyer
SB 117 is dangerous. There are 3 parts to this bill and you need to understand them.
1. Reduces the statute of limitations from 5 years to 2 years for personal liability regarding...
"An action for any injury to the person or rights of another, not arising on contract and not otherwise provided for by law, including actions for personal injury or bodily injury"
This means instead of having 5 years to sue someone for harm, you only have 2. Maybe in some cases that works. But for many, it doesn't.
- What if you had a wreck, suffered horrible physical injuries that left you jobless, enduring surgeries, therapies, etc.
- What if your children were hurt and. you were dealing with their recovery, therapies, etc?
- What if you just didn't realize you were sick or it took more than two years to get a diagnosis that was the result of a chemical or toxic exposure?
There are a lot of situations where you would be under an incredible amount of stress, occupied with health matters, etc. No one in these circumstances wants to take up a law suit and deal with the legal system when they are just trying to survive the trauma of what was done to them.
2. Reduces the statute of limitation in regard to uninsured and underinsured motorists from 10 years to 2 years.
"An action against an insurer relating to uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage, including any action to enforce such coverage."
This means you only have 2 years to redress your grievances with your insurance company if there's a problem. Interesting. They love to protect the insurance companies.
I don't hate insurance companies. My husband works for one and has for 30+ years. But let me assure you, the insurance companies are reinsured to the hilt and decreasing your ability to hold them accountable by 8 years isn't what's best for the people. Have you ever had insurance issues drag out for months or years at a time?? It can happen.
Maybe 10 years is too long. But 2? Hmm... that's a little extreme when the ones you are protecting are multi-million and billion dollar companies.
Also, this might very well cause the court system to clog up faster than it does now because it might actually force people to file suit when with more time for mediation it might have settled out of court.
3. Gives SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY to ALL 3rd party PRIVATE contractors of PUBLIC ENTITIES!
I can't scream this loud enough!! Take to heart the red print and all caps because I mean it!
Sovereign Immunity: Sovereign immunity refers to the fact that the government cannot be sued without its consent.
"Sovereign immunity was derived from British common law doctrine on the idea that the King could do no wrong. In the US, sovereign immunity typically applies to the federal government and state government but not to municipalities." - Cornell Law School
Lines 47 - 52 of Luetkemeyer's SB 117 say this:
"When acting within the scope of a government contract, private contractors of a public entity, excluding those private contractors provided for in section 210.114 shall have sovereign or governmental tort immunity to the same extent as a public entity, including any limitation on awards for liability provided for in section 537.610."
According the US Code, the definition of public entity is:
2. any department, agency, special purpose district or other instrumentality of a State or States or local government; and
3. the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, and any commuter authority (as defined in section 24102(4) of title 49).
who would be immune?
This means that ANY private contractor working for any government entity, the public school system, the State University system, fire/police/EMS departments, public transportation systems, etc. The actual list would be miles long. It would be so far reaching that there's no way to even truly comprehend how far this actually goes.
But here are a few examples:
- The State of Missouri
- Highway contractors...think road construction
- Database systems contractors.... think data leaks and security breaches including ERIC...VOTER REGISTRATION INFORMATION
- Classroom Wallet...the contracted provider for disbursing funds through the Treasurer's office for the ESA program.
- Equipment contractors... think faulty ANYTHING from sprinkler systems to voting machines to the food in the Truman Building cafeteria
- Universities in the Missouri State System
- University of Missouri Hospital systems - NO DOCTOR contracted through MU could be held liable for ANY issue of malpractice.
- Real Example: A knee replacement surgery was done on over 15 patients at University Hospital. The knee was defective. If this law passes, neither the surgeons or the manufacturer would be liable for those cases or be required to repair the damage done.
- Every other contract doing business with the universities. EVERY. CONTRACTOR.
- Missouri Public Schools
- Playground equipment providers
- SOFTWARE providers
- Bus drivers & transportation services
- Food services
- County & City Governments
- Equipment and gear for public safety workers...thing oxygen tanks for firefighters, police equipment, ambulance services, etc etc.
- Construction crews
Other than the obvious, the fact that you can't sue for something done wrong to you in all these different situations, the bigger problem is that they are continuing to separate us. There are different rules for different groups of people.
The government & anyone doing business with the government in ANY way - NO ACCOUNTABILITY.
The people, small businesses, churches, etc. - SORRY CHARLIE. YOU'RE OUT OF LUCK.
Not only are you out of luck as far as being held accountable for your own actions and following a different set of rules, but the government and their partners can now cut corners, be deceitful, and plan their business dealings with you knowing that they have ZERO accountability for ANYTHING.
Now, how you do think that's gonna work out???
current status of sb 117
SB 117 has passed committee in the Missouri Senate. It's on the calendar to be heard on the Senate floor. I'm hopeful we have senators willing to stand and fight for us. I've been reassured that is the case. However, at the first moment I see otherwise, I'll be sending out an SOS and begging you to help me fight against this UN-AMERICAN piece of junk!!
Call & email your own senator and let them know how you feel about this. Their phones need to be ringing off the hook! Be sure to ask them how they plan to vote. If they tell you, let me know the response you get. I'd love to know! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org