House Bill 79 — First responder civil immunity

Lindsay Atkinson 2019 House bill ratings

Bill description: HB79 would allow first responders to damage private property without liability (for lawsuits or criminal prosecution) for their actions.

Rating: -1

Does it violate the principle of equal protection under the law? Examples include laws which discriminate or differentiate based on age, gender, or religion or which apply laws, regulations, rules, or penalties differently based on such characteristics. Conversely, does it restore or protect the principle of equal protection under the law?

This bill would make certain persons immune to civil liability and prosecution for damages they inflict on the property of others. Through this bill, any first responder who damages a vehicle for entry to remove a cat or dog, based on “a reasonable, good faith belief that the cat or dog is in imminent danger”, is immune to any civil liability or prosecution brought against them.

This same immunity is not granted to others who may be in a similar situation. A person who passes by a car in a grocery parking lot and has their own “reasonable, good faith belief” that a pet may be in danger is not offered this immunity. Only a very specific group of people are granted immunity: first responders. Thus, this bill would apply the rule of law differently to different groups, based on occupation.