TSRA Alert on SB534

Relevant bills filed and their status

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RPBrown
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#16

Post by RPBrown » Wed Mar 21, 2007 6:04 pm

I have to agree with Charles. At least it's a starting point.
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#17

Post by frankie_the_yankee » Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:48 am

Charles L. Cotton wrote: Again, I understand your concern and if SB534 passes, I wouldn't advocate anyone take advantage of the bill, if they feel it is imprudent. However, that's a personal choice and undoubtedly many people will choose to provide the employer notice. For them, SB534 will be a very beneficial change to Texas employment law.
gmckinl wrote:. . . With an immunity clause for the employer, . . .
Just watch, that provision won't be there if it were to come to a vote. The Texas Trial Lawyers Assoc. (TTLA) has already testified against that portion of the bill, and they were successful in getting the "loser pays" provision deleted from Castle Doctrine and it had huge co-sponsor support.

Chas.
1) I think the immunity clause for employers is essential. Without that, the business interests would call in every chit they had to defeat it.

2) I see that "loser pays" was deleted from the Castle Doctrine bill. But the final version looks like an IMPROVEMENT to me.

The original version stated that in the event of a lawsuit, it was an affirmative defense that the person using deadly force was legally justified in using that force under the penal code. And yes, in the event that the lawsuit failed, the person using deadly force could recover attorney's fees, among other things.

But in the amended version, the person using deadly force is declared IMMUNE from civil suit if their actions are justified under the penal code. This is much better than a mere affirmative defense. The way the final version reads, you CAN'T be sued if your actions were lawful.

Here's the link to what I believe to be the final version. I got it from the TX Legislature website.

http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/ ... 00378F.doc

Am I missing something here? To me, the version that passed looks better than the original.
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#18

Post by Charles L. Cotton » Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:35 am

frankie_the_yankee wrote:But in the amended version, the person using deadly force is declared IMMUNE from civil suit if their actions are justified under the penal code. This is much better than a mere affirmative defense. The way the final version reads, you CAN'T be sued if your actions were lawful.

Am I missing something here? To me, the version that passed looks better than the original.
No, the version passed is not as good as originally filed. The "loser pays" provisions were the cause of the Texas Trial Lawyers' intense opposition to the bill and an attorney member of the committee was holding it up until those provisions were removed. (He later tried to focus on his being a co-author and claiming he always intended to vote for the bill. He never mentioned delaying the bill.)

There is no such thing as immunity from suit, only immunity from civil liability. The Texas Constitution will not permit a law that would deny a person access to the courts. The current law does mean a plaintiff cannot win a suit, if the deadly force was justified under Chp. 9. It also means he will lose early on, rather than after months of costly litigation. It is even more likely that no attorney will take the case; we have no desire to pour money into a case with no chance to win. This is a major improvement. Another major improvement is the expansion of civil immunity to all justifiable use of deadly force, not just when it is used in your home.

We have an excellent Castle Doctrine - I'll call it a greatly expanded Castle Doctrine.

Chas.


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#19

Post by Right2Carry » Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:38 pm

gmckinl wrote:Thanks Charles. You are a master of insight.

Since I work for one of the big, bad, defense contractors I guess I'm just paranoid about some things. We've gone from being a company that had an FFL and shooting teams/clubs when I started there to being just another mega-conglomerate. Since I don't know what the dogs they run through the parking lot are trained to detect, I make sure to have no firearms at all in my truck at any time these days. So sad.
Agreed as I am in the same boat. I can only hope that nothing ever happens to me going to and from work.
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#20

Post by Right2Carry » Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:45 pm

Since I won't hand my supervisor a "lay me off first letter", it doesn't help w/ CHL either. Bummer, I had high hopes for this session.
I have to agree with this. Notifying your employer is just asking for trouble IMHO. Concealed means Concealed and my employer has absoutely no reason to know that I am a CHL or that I carry to and from work. I see all sorts of problems with this.
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#21

Post by Venus Pax » Mon Apr 16, 2007 9:09 pm

I'm not understanding this bill.

What is the advantage of telling your employer?
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#22

Post by frankie_the_yankee » Mon Apr 16, 2007 9:13 pm

Charles L. Cotton wrote: No, the version passed is not as good as originally filed. The "loser pays" provisions were the cause of the Texas Trial Lawyers' intense opposition to the bill and an attorney member of the committee was holding it up until those provisions were removed.

.........................

The current law does mean a plaintiff cannot win a suit, if the deadly force was justified under Chp. 9. It also means he will lose early on, rather than after months of costly litigation. It is even more likely that no attorney will take the case; we have no desire to pour money into a case with no chance to win. This is a major improvement. Another major improvement is the expansion of civil immunity to all justifiable use of deadly force, not just when it is used in your home.

We have an excellent Castle Doctrine - I'll call it a greatly expanded Castle Doctrine.

Chas.
Charles, I'm confused. Given your comment that "This is a major improvement.", where you seem to agree with me, you also state that the version passed was not as good as the original.

What was in the original version that made it better?
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#23

Post by Charles L. Cotton » Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:37 am

frankie_the_yankee wrote:
Charles L. Cotton wrote: No, the version passed is not as good as originally filed. The "loser pays" provisions were the cause of the Texas Trial Lawyers' intense opposition to the bill and an attorney member of the committee was holding it up until those provisions were removed.

.........................

The current law does mean a plaintiff cannot win a suit, if the deadly force was justified under Chp. 9. It also means he will lose early on, rather than after months of costly litigation. It is even more likely that no attorney will take the case; we have no desire to pour money into a case with no chance to win. This is a major improvement. Another major improvement is the expansion of civil immunity to all justifiable use of deadly force, not just when it is used in your home.

We have an excellent Castle Doctrine - I'll call it a greatly expanded Castle Doctrine.

Chas.
Charles, I'm confused. Given your comment that "This is a major improvement.", where you seem to agree with me, you also state that the version passed was not as good as the original.

What was in the original version that made it better?
The as-filed bill gave the defendant a statutory right to recover all defense costs, including attorney fees.

Chas.


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#24

Post by frankie_the_yankee » Tue Apr 17, 2007 1:22 am

Charles L. Cotton wrote: The as-filed bill gave the defendant a statutory right to recover all defense costs, including attorney fees.

Chas.
If that's the case, then I like the final version better. To me, immunity is better than an affirmative defense with right to recover fees. If a suit can't be won, no lawyer working on a contingent fee will file it.

And any suit filed by a lawyer on retainer (unusual in the liability biz) would be subject to summary dismissal, IMO. (Note: I am not a lawyer and am not giving legal advice here.)

But I guess we can agree to disagree on this.
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#25

Post by Right2Carry » Tue Apr 17, 2007 5:47 am

One also has to wonder about promotion opportunities if the employer is not friendly to CHL's. I just hate the fact that there will be a requirement to notify the employer.
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#26

Post by frankie_the_yankee » Wed Apr 18, 2007 1:09 am

Right2Carry wrote:One also has to wonder about promotion opportunities if the employer is not friendly to CHL's. I just hate the fact that there will be a requirement to notify the employer.
I'm not crazy about it either.

I suspect that it was one of those "throw ins" intended to reduce the intensity of the opposition from the business interests.

At this point, I would take it if it means we would get a bill. It can always be amended as time passes and horror stories fail to materialize.

And I am not as concerned as others that "everyone" would know you were packing in your car. I think the employer would keep that information confidential as they do other personal information (medical, your salary, etc.)

I think anyone who works for a medium or large company would have nothing to worry about. Their legal dept. will tell them that if a pattern develops where CHL's get preferrentially whacked, they can expect to be making a huge class action payout down the road.

People have won awards with far less justification than that.

People who work for smaller companies might have more problems, especially if the owner is anti-2nd amendment.

Finally, as Charles has correctly pointed out, SB534 is the only bill of this type that has any chance at all of passage this session. Let's not let the perfect become the enemy of the good. It is now in the Calendars Committee. Call the Chairman (Rep. Wooley) and tell her office that you want to see this bill get a vote on the House floor.

She seems lukewarm to this bill at best. We need to push her as hard as we can.
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#27

Post by AG-EE » Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:58 pm

I'm concerned about having to notify my employer as well. Years ago I made the mistake of asking them if it was OK if I kept my CH in my vehicle, if it were locked up and remained there, and they freaked out and posted the parking lot 30.06, so it is pretty obvious they are not friendly towards CHL's.

I haven't decided if I would notify them and begin carrying or not.


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#28

Post by frankie_the_yankee » Fri Apr 20, 2007 8:29 pm

We need to contact Rep. Beverly Woolley, Chair of the Calendars Committee to urge her to get SB534 to the House Floor for a vote.

Here's the link to her webpage.

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/di ... oolley.htm
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#29

Post by JohnKSa » Fri May 11, 2007 10:44 pm

Here's the entire committee.

http://www.house.state.tx.us/committees/050.htm

Click on a name and you will be given the chance to send an email.

An email to House Speaker Tom Craddick would help too.

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/di ... addick.htm

While this bill isn't perfect, we've seen the legislature improve new laws over time in the past. They have to have something to start from.

While some people may not take advantage of the law in their current circumstances, they may be able to in the future (due to a job change or an improvement in the law.) Something is sure better than nothing, and this bill could be the start of something good.
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#30

Post by KBCraig » Sat May 12, 2007 3:37 am

This is about the least perfect bill offered:

1) Requires notifying the employer

2) Only applies to CHLs (not "travelers")

3) Only applies to handguns (not long guns during hunting season)

I oppose restricting private property rights, even those of employers, but if a "parking lot" bill were to pass, this is a good start.

Kevin

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