Bill makes localities liable when an employee exceeds their authority

February 18, 2016


VACo opposes SB 746 (Wagner) that makes a state agency or locality liable for damages caused by an employee who intentionally exceeds his or her authority. This creates a problem as localities and their insurers generally reserve the right not to pay damages on behalf of employees who intentionally commit wrongful acts, and the costs created by this bill would be significant. This bill may discouraged legitimate enforcement efforts and make it difficult to hire and retain good employees in such jobs. In addition its will increase litigation and the costs associated with it. The bill passed the senate 26-24 and is now in the House Courts of Justice Committee’s Civil Law Subcommittee.

Talking points

SB 746 attempts to intimidate employees from taking legitimate steps to protect public safety and health.

The bill makes hiring and retention of good employees in civil enforcement positions very difficult.

SB 746 creates enormous potential cost for both state and local governments to defend employees sued under its provisions.

The bill is unnecessary because federal law already provides a remedy (42 U.S. Code Sec. 1983) for state and local employees who act in bad faith to violate a citizen’s rights.

VACo Contact: Phyllis Errico, CAE

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