Florida lawmakers have filed the first bills of the 2017 legislative session. They’re all what are known as claims bills.
Claims bills are measures filed to help people injured by the government get compensation. The state enjoys what’s called Sovereign Immunity, which means it can’t be forced through a lawsuit to pay more than $200,000 unless the legislature writes a bill Okaying a larger sum. Claims bills have caused heart burn for lawmakers over the years. Sen. Tom Lee (R-Brandon) said last session, the process isn’t working.
“We don’t know how to fix it but we know it’s miserably broken right now. And as much as that’s sometimes at the expense of plaintiffs who have recovered damages. It’s hard to break the seal on claims bills and not do all of them,” Lee said.
Few claims bills passed last session. Twenty-two have been filed so far for the next session. The bills include damages for the family of a boy killed in a school bus crash as well as the family of a Florida State University football player who died during football practice in 2001.