Toby Farmer Asks Don Shooter to Explain Intentions of Immunity Bill
Republican candidate Toby Farmer is asking State Senator Don Shooter to explain his sponsorship and support of a bill that gives the state and state employees complete immunity when they commit negligent acts on state trust lands. Sen. Shooter sponsored a bizarre amendment in the Appropriations Committee last week to a state trust lands bill. The provision, which Shooter authored, condones negligent acts of the state and its employees.
Right now as written, Shooter’s proposal would give the state complete immunity in the future, for example, in tragic wildland forest fires such as the Yarnell tragedy where 19 hotshot firefighters were killed last summer in northern Arizona. Families of the victims and property owners currently have claims against the state alleging negligence.
Toby Farmer asked, “Is Don Shooter okay with families, business owners, property owners and victims not receiving fair compensation when the state is in fact negligent? Why is Don Shooter okay with property owners who have been harmed by the state’s actions having no recourse for recovery or just compensation?” Farmer continued, “The potential harmful ramifications for the rural portions of my district and the landowners in Arizona cannot be understated.”
In committee, other Republican members and individuals who testified expressed their concerns and opposition to the language. In regards to the immunity language, Republican Senator Rick Murphy stated, “I’m not sure the Constitution would permit it.” A lawyer for one of the deceased hotshots and several landowners harmed by the fire called the provision “regrettable” and an “insult to firefighters.”
Farmer continued, “Why should government have special protections when there is clear negligence that businesses and regular people do not? It’s a scary world where a government can’t be held liable for its actions.”
To learn more about Toby’s campaign, visit www.FarmerAZ.com.