Public officials not off the hook.
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Public officials not off the hook.

Date: April 27, 2009
By: Christine Slusser
State Capitol Bureau
Links: HB 481

Intro: The Missouri Senate laid aside a bill that one Senator says could allow public officials get away with murder.

Christine Slusser has more from Jefferson City.

RunTime:0:38
OutCue: SOC

A Senate filibuster on Monday laid aside a House bill that would have protected public officials from lawsuits.

Democratic Senator Tim Green debated with fellow St. Louis County Senator, Republican Jim Lembke about what the consequences would be to school officials if a student was killed by accident.

Actuality:  GRELEMB.WAV
Run Time: 00:09
Description: "GREEN: If you killed my son, it would be pretty devastating...

LEMBKE:  It would be devastating.

GREEN:...so I couldn't sue?

LEMBKE:  Oh I think you can still sue Senator." 

Lembke mentioned services like law enforcement and public schools could be in jeopardy if law suits keep taking away all of the state's funds.

From the state Capitol, I'm Christine Slusser.


Intro: Much to one senator's relief, a House bill was laid aside in the Missouri Senate Monday .

Christine Slusser has more from the state Capitol.

RunTime:0:42
OutCue: SOC

With today's economy, lawsuits can take an extra chunk of money out of the state's pocket.

St. Louis County Democrat Senator Tim Green called on Columbia Republican Senator Kurt Schaefer to discuss which rights this bill would diminish.

Actuality:  GRESCHA.WAV
Run Time: 00:13
Description: "GREEN: What have I taken away from my rights by supporting this?

SCHAEFER: Well, you take away the rights to collect punitive damages, which the verdict director on punitive damages is a reckless disregard for whatever it was that you were doing." 

Green said he was concerned about situations where public officials may accidentally hit someone while on a high speed chase.

In this case, the injured person could not sue the state official because they were on duty.

From Jefferson City, I'm Christine Slusser.


Intro: One Missouri Senator voiced strong opposition against a bill he says would let the government off scott-free.

Christine Slusser has more from Jefferson City.

RunTime:0:46
OutCue: SOC

One Jackson County Senator says the House bill which was laid aside Monday would protect the people who harass others in the work place.

Republican Senator Victor Callahan says even conspirators would be safe.

Actuality:  CALLJUST.WAV
Run Time: 00:18
Description: "Even a conspiracy to demote, to fire, to punish, to create a hostile environment...any number of things that happen in sexual harassment in whistle blower cases, this would exempt government."

In the bill's defense was St. Louis County Republican, Senator Jim Lembke.

Lembke says things like law enforcement are public services that otherwise would not be there.

He says lawsuits make it hard to stay in business.

From the state Capitol, I'm Christine Slusser.