Dear Missouri Senators: The TALKING POINTS ARE EMBARRASSING. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH ON SB 51.
Dear Senators of Missouri that are supporting SB51,
It appears you are struggling to draft your own thoughts in a concise manner or debate the talking points of SB51without having the attorneys and lobbyists that are pushing it, do it for you.
Here is the collective rebuttal to your version of "facts", which are your handed talking points, about SB 51. We wish you were as invested as your constituents are in doing your own research. You're exposing your loyalties, stop with the talking points. Your talking points are a diversion from answering for your actions in supporting this COVID compliance legislation. Truly, you are embarrassing yourselves.
The ordinary taxpayers of Missouri who are not trial attorneys.
P.S. We write this blog for posterity. If this bill passes and the cause is as we fear, you the senators and state reps who vote for it will eventually have to answer to the citizens of Missouri, your neighbors, friends, and communities, for the damage you will have caused.
To you the Citizens of Missouri,
Truth is being protected by a shroud of lies. This bill needs to be renamed the COVID Compliance Bill, not Covid Liability Protection Legislation.
Imagine a life in complete "fear" of being sued by the government for non-compliance to guidelines that have not yet been defined.
Imagine a life where you or your loved one cannot receive medical treatment. Imagine being harmed at the hand of protocols and guidelines and then not having the ability to redress wrongs in court.
Your ability to interact civilly is being stripped away in SB51. Corporations and special interests are poking at you through regurgitation of talking points handed to your senators and representatives. We see where similarities to SB51 are being played out in states that are further down this path. As citizen's, we now have enough evidence to show that:
Clearly, these senators either are not fully aware of the bill or they are having lobbyists reform their responses.
These are the same talking points that nearly every senator who is in favor of tort reform/corporate legal immunity is slathering out to their constituents. See if they sound familiar to you.
Your engagement has caused such a stir, they can't believe anything, but that it is being perpetuated by trial attorneys- which is laughable. It is evidence of how much influence YOU can make in Missouri and how disconnected so many of them are from the reality of everyday citizens.
KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK, Missouri!
In simple terms, hospitals, nursing homes, covered products (big pharma) are given immunity from liability in this bill. Many business owners believe this bill will create the need for liability insurance coverage that they do not need now, increasing their cost of business exponentially.
Small businesses, individuals, non-profits, organizations, and schools will only enjoy the same level of immunity from liability if they comply with the orders not yet know that will absolve them from being found guilty of "recklessness and willful misconduct" as defined in the bill.
What REAL people want, is the same protection given to big business, period.
Let this place serve as a jumping-off point to do your own research and learn to ask questions and expect a real answer from your senators and state reps. no matter what side of the fence they sit on. See if they can truly answer or if they are only capable of a canned response in the form of one of the talking points below.
Below are their regurgitated talking points coupled with the truth of the Covid Compliance Legislation. Take what you need to arm yourself with the truth.
CLAIMS AND TRUTH
Information on Covid Liability S.B. 51 and 42 is modeled after the federal Safe to Work Act that was drafted by Republican Senators.
Republican RINOs in the Senate of the United States, did draft the Safe to Work Act. They are not conservative, nor do they abide by conservative principles. Mitch McConnell is the driver of the SAFE TO WORK ACT. Most Missourians don't find his leadership to be anything we are interested in, and we certainly have no confidence in what they stand for.
Does ANYONE still believe their concern stems from genuine care for US, the people?
This is the amount of money directly given to members of Congress for legislation protecting nursing homes and hospitals from liability: We are being played from both sides.
The two sponsors of the "Safe to Work Act" (COVID Liability Protection Bill) are highlighted above. We need to get over the idea that an R or a D behind a name makes the person principled. ACTIONS are the true measure of integrity.
CLAIM: Without SB 51 and 42, businesses, healthcare providers, individuals, manufacturers are all subject to litigation that could be filed years from now. Missouri has the longest statute of limitations (5 years) of most any state in the nation for products and premises liability. This liability exists today and many fear being sued over COVID exposure claims. Most states in the nation have passed legislation already dealing with COVID Liability and Missouri is now taking that action.
This bill has been branded as the "Small Business Protection Bill" which is a lie. This bill will bail out poor choices that have been made by hospital administrators and nursing home administrators that have caused true harm to individuals during the "pandemic" and emergency order. This bill is designed to also give liability to corporations that produce any"covid" related products from any liability from any adverse effect for the next four years. This bill is about "tort reform" in order to protect big corporate interests, not the little guy. This bill will create a new category of "Individual and entity" that can and will be sued for "non-compliance". Those who can and will be sued will be small business, individuals, non-profits, and others that don't fit into that big corporate definition. The "tort reform" in this bill is a bailout for big, corporate, interests.
If we are going to have an HONEST conversation about the "other states" that have passed this bill then let's look at what has happened in those states to the residents there who have been victimized by similar legislation that has already passed their states that mirror SB 51. Many states passed similar legislation months ago, let us LEARN from the fallout in those states and not make the same mistake in Missouri.
In a recent article published by The Guardian it clearly illustrates that of the 10 states with the highest fatality rates, eight of those have been given "corporate immunity" otherwise known as "TORT REFORM". Those states represent 93% of all fatalities or 63,178 deaths. It also states that 77% of total deaths come from states that gave immunity to corporations who owned nursing homes and healthcare facilities; moreover 76% of total nursing home deaths come from states that have given legal immunity status for these facilities.
Simply put, people are 7.5 times more likely to die from Covid 19 in states with corporate legal immunity (tort reform). It is clear that businesses, especially nursing homes that interface with COVID 19 positive individuals, are less compelled to implement proper procedures that save lives."
Please reference the research done here by an elected member of the general assembly in New York. It is compelling and alarming.
Why do our Missouri representatives want to take us to a place more liberal than New York, through adopted policy?
CLAIM/TALKING POINT In response to concerns voiced by our Conservative friends, SB 51 was amended by the Missouri Republican Senate to: A. Provide the highest level of protections to religious organizations in the nation;
First point: Why would the authors of this bill have ever created such harsh potential consequences for our churches in the first place? Now, that the bill has been amended they tout "the highest level of protection to religious organizations in the nation" as if it was their idea to do that. It was not. This certainly tells us a lot about the true intent of this bill and those who authored it. That should give all of us concern and reason for a pause when it comes to this bill. Also, the original amendment offered by "our conservative friends" (how condescending) was stripped of its original language. It was much more powerful and gave the same immunity corporations enjoyed until the RINO leadership in the Missouri Senate stripped it down.
The language of the bill still places the "individual" under the same level of liability for noncompliance as it originally did the church. An "individual" person can be a congregation participant, a visitor, or a pastor (the person). There is still liability in this bill that could affect the church in each individual's capacity. It is just not as obvious now.
IMPORTANT QUESTION: WHY CAN WE NOT SEE SMALL BUSINESS GIVEN THE SAME MEASURE OF PROTECTION IN THIS BILL AS THE HOSPITALS AND NURSING HOMES? WHY CAN WE NOT HAVE THAT LANGUAGE USED TO TRULY PROTECT THE CHURCH AND SMALL BUSINESS? Our "FRIENDS" who authored this bill clearly don't intend to offer true immunity to the church. That has been made abundantly clear.
Claim/Talking Point B. Exclude vaccines from the Liability Protections in the bill
"Covered products" in this bill do not just deal with "vaccines". There are a host of other medical "devices" and "biological products", "pandemic products", "epidemic products" that are covered here. All it would take would be a quick change up in definitions by the FDA or the CDC of the word vaccine and this protection you perceive is no 'protection' at all. Today it is called a vaccine. Tomorrow it will be called an "epidemic product" and poof, no protection at all. To assume that the definition of a vaccine will stay the same over the next four years is naive.
Definition below of "covered product in the Substitute for SB 51:
"Covered product", a pandemic or epidemic product, drug, biological product, device, or an individual component thereof to combat COVID-19, excluding any vaccine or gene therapy;
Also, you must surely be aware of the PREP Act where liability immunity has been given to Big Pharma and healthcare providers already? Why give them more in Missouri? If not here is a link explaining:
Additionally, you have to be aware that in 1986 Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. This act removed all liability for Big Pharma in the creation and administration of vaccines.
TALKING POINT: CLAIM C. Prohibit mandatory vaccination.
The STATE will not make vaccines "mandatory" as a result of this bill. However, for a business, individual, non profits, or another "entity" to be held without liability they will have a "choice". They can choose not to function in society (go to the store, work, events) without the fear of liability, or they can CHOOSE to mainstream into society by getting the vaccine or any other recommended "covered product" or "biological product" required to keep their neighbors "safe".
It is similar to public education. DESE does not mandate your curriculum for you if you are a public school. However, if you do not choose the curriculum that aligns to the test and your school does poorly, DESE will not give you the accreditation that measures your school. They will take you over any way. Your school has a "choice". No one forces your school to make that choice, right? But, they do. They really, really do. Same thing with this COVID Compliance Legislation.
TALKING POINT/ CLAIM: If passed, SB 51 will reduce liability for litigation over COVID related lawsuits in three areas:
1. Property owners and providers of Services;
Please reference and name in Missouri those "property owners" that have been sued due to COVID exposure to date? We won't be holding our breath.
Are you lumping hospitals and nursing homes into this category of lawsuits? Are your categorizing insurance companies under the same umbrella as "property owners"? There are lawsuits that small businesses have filed against insurance companies who are not paying for the gap coverage small businesses believe should be covered. Will this bill bail out the insurance industry from those lawsuits currently on the books?
Claim/talking point: manufacturers of products
used to fight Covid need liability protection
Which products and which manufacturers? How many lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers in Missouri? And against which ones? Please show us the exact lawsuits.
Claim/talking point: healthcare providers
who have been true heroes for fighting this war against the pandemic.
No one disagrees that our healthcare workers are heroes. However, this bill gives immunity to the administrators who made bad decisions during the pandemic that potentially caused casualties by withholding services not considered "essential". Is there a tally on how many people died due to the climate created during the crisis by labeling some conditions as "non essential"? Does this bill protect bad decisions made as a result of taking bad advice from the DHSS during the pandemic? Is there liability for the DHSS due to their bad advice? This bill would give the bad decisions of hospital administrators and nursing home administrators a pass like in the state of New York where there were so many casualties based on horrific decisions made by administrators, not healthcare workers. There is a difference there.
This bill will also give immunity for future bad decisions by those same administrators of hospitals and nursing homes yet to be made. They are given an immunity pass for decisions yet made that could cause mass casualties for the next four years. (The sunset on this bill is four years from now.) Let us learn from New York and the other states who have already passed similar legislation and the damage that has been done in those states.
In a recent article about the state of New York and a similar liability immunity bill they passed the article said this:
"It is now apparent that negligence by administrators and executives of nursing homes has occurred at an extraordinary degree,” proponents of the legislation argued in a memo accompanying the bill. “[The immunity law] egregiously uses severe liability standards as a means to insulate healthcare facilities and specifically, administrators and executives of such facilities, from any civil or criminal liability for negligence".
It also notes this: “These executives choose how much staffing will be in a nursing home and they know the more staffing that they put in, the more safe the nursing home will be – but the less profits they will make,” Finkelstein said. “When you remove their liability from that choice, the net effect will be less and less staffing and more and more neglect in nursing homes, because those decision-makers will know there will be no legal consequences for the decisions they make.”
The research in this article clearly shows that people are 7.5 times more likely to die from Covid-19 in states with corporate legal immunity aka, "TORT REFORM".
You call it TORT REFORM. They call in CORPORATE LEGAL IMMUNITY.
Clearly it is in your best interests, SENATORS WHO ARE SPREADING THESE TALKING POINTS, to align with those interested in "TORT REFORM". They fund the super PACS that make most political dreams come true. They are the big corporations of the world that make massive political donations to the PACs that we all know are not subject to the same kind of transparency that tax payers wish they were. Those PACs are making practice of buying elections in our state and nation with "dark money" used to fund campaigns. We get it. It is just important that your constituents understand the game being played here, too. They are the actual vote casters and if enough of them come to understand what is going on, with a grassroots effort VOTES will soon matter more than the money. We can hope.
And this from the article:
"An analysis found that “of the 10 states with the highest fatality rates, eight have corporate immunity and represent 93% of all fatalities, or 63,187 deaths”. The report also says the data show that “states with corporate immunity saw more than three times the absolute number of fatalities than states without such immunity. The average rate of death per state is 7.5 times higher in states with corporate immunity than states with no immunity for corporations.”
Is this what you really want? Tort Reform/Corporate Legal Immunity (Same thing).
Link to the research. It is alarming and should give pause to every elected official who might consider voting for SB 51. May this blog post serve as the warning for those who might vote for such a bad bill. If there is blood on your hands for such a decision to vote to pass, you can never say you were not warned. DO. THE. RESEARCH.
Why in the world are we pushing this bill with such rapid speed and why does our governor , Mike Parson, want a "Emergency Clause" placed on this bill? Especially when he says this just last week:
Does his "urgency" with this bill seem slightly out of touch based on the overwhelmingly positive direction we are headed in the height of flu season? Or, is there something else driving his "urgency" to get this passed?
Read the whole article and do research on the attached links provided: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/26/andrew-cuomo-nursing-home-execs-immunity
CLAIM/TALKING POINT :
SB 51 will increase the litigation standards making it more stringent on who can file by using a higher burden of proof to “reckless or willful misconduct” which is much higher than the current and existing standard of “knew or should have known” for negligence. SB 51 will also shorten the amount of time that one can bring a lawsuit so the fear of being sued doesn’t hang over people’s heads as long.
TRUTH: First, let's be honest here. Unless a private citizen has very deep pockets OR unless they have a slam dunk case they have no ability to fight the big corporate interests that this bill protects. Big corporate interests have deep pockets and teams of attorneys to fend off the little guy. That is a ridiculous assertion.
This may be true of some of the definitions for those considered a "INDIVIDUAL OR ENTITY" in this bill. But, NOT for small business, churches, individuals, non profits, etc.
What this bill does do:
Definitions of "RECKLESSNESS AND WILLFUL MISCONDUCT in SB 51.
Definitions taken from SB 51:
(15) "Recklessness", a conscious, voluntary act or omission in reckless disregard of: (a) A legal duty; and
(b) The consequences to another party;
Truth: (if you disregard the advice of public health officials, will you be considered "reckless for placing their health/safety at risk?")
Definitions from the bill:
(16) "Willful misconduct", an act or omission that is taken: (a) Intentionally to achieve a wrongful purpose; (b) Knowingly without legal or factual justification; and (c) In disregard of a known or obvious risk (could that be not following the recommendations of health officials or executive order that potentially place others in perceived danger from COVID 19 or a virus that mutates therefrom?) that is so great as to make it highly probable that the harm will outweigh the benefit. (Harm of a COVID 19 exposure claim?)
C. disregard of a known or obvious risk (COVID or a VIRUS MUTATING THEREFROM) that makes it highly probable that the harm to disregard with outweighs the benefit.
The bar may be set high for those "entities and individuals" who follow the recommendations, regulations, orders, rules, and executive orders yet to come, but for those who have a moral objection to such edicts those businesses, individuals, entities, non profits, will have a bar lowered to where they will not be able to operate without being held liable for some new definition in the law called COVID Exposure Claim. They will be called "BAD ACTORS" and they will be sued. The powers that be who wrote this bill (watch the video) are not here to promote "TORT REFORM" for the mom and pop shops. Big business does not share in the cause to protect YOUR small business or you as an individual.
2. For purposes of this section, an elective procedure that is delayed with good cause shall not be considered recklessness or willful misconduct.
THE BILL CLEARLY GIVES FULL EXEMPTION TO HOSPITALS THAT CHOOSE TO DELAY ELECTIVE PROCEDURES. THAT SHALL NOT BE CONSIDERED RECKLESSNESS or WILLFUL MISCONDUCT. Why can you not say the same thing for those who enter a business or a church? Those who enter a place of private business or attend a church service can not claim the business was acting reckless or with willful misconduct because those who enter, enter at their own risk?
Not hard to do that at all. But, that is not what this bill is REALLY all about. It is about forcing compliance.
See, you did it again in the bill SB 51 when you give legal immunity from liability to these entities listed below:
No individual or entity who designs, manufactures, imports, distributes, labels, packages, leases, sells, or donates a covered product shall be liable in a COVID-19 products liability action if the individual or entity: (1) Does not make the covered product in the ordinary course of business; (2) Does make the covered product in the ordinary course of business, however the emergency due to COVID-19 requires the covered product to be made in a modified manufacturing process that is outside the ordinary course of business; or (3) Does make the covered product in the ordinary course of business and use of the covered product is different than its recommended purpose and used in response to the emergency due to COVID-19.
Remember the definition in the bill of a covered product:
"Covered product", a pandemic or epidemic product, drug, biological product, device, or an individual component thereof to combat COVID-19, excluding any vaccine or gene therapy;
And more liability immunity below for big corporations:
537.1015. 1. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, and except as otherwise provided in this section, no individual or entity who designs, manufactures, imports, distributes, labels, packages, leases, sells or donates a covered product shall be liable in a COVID-19 products liability action if the individual or entity:
The provisions of this section shall apply to any claim for damages that has a causal relationship with the administration to or use by an individual of a covered product, including a causal relationship with the design, development, clinical testing or investigation, manufacture, labeling, distribution, formulation, packaging, marketing, promotion, sale, purchase, lease, donation, dispensing, prescribing administration, licensing, or use of such covered product.
See, you CAN create liability immunity (TORT REFORM) in this bill and you have...for BIG CORPORATE INTERESTS. You just chose NOT to do that for the small business owners who choose not to comply with future mandates. You CHOSE to author this bill to punish churches, non profits, small businesses, and individuals. You did not use the same language to exempt them as you clearly used to exempt big business.
CLAIM: SB 51 does not create more liability, it’s reduces it significantly. All of our state, from biggest to smallest, will benefit from these protections. There is no reliance on government programs in SB 51. There is no more power given to county health agencies.
THIIS IS NOT TRUE: It only reduces liability for those who COMPLY with ....if you don't comply your actions with be considered recklessness and willful misconduct.
Rewrite the language. WRITE A CLEAN BILL THAT MAKES THAT ABUNDANTLY CLEAR BECAUSE SB 51 CLEARLY APPEARS TO PUNISH THOSE WHO DON'T COMPLY!
WE REMEMBER WHAT THE SPECIAL SESSION SB 1 tried to do to Missourians. It attempted to do the same, exact, thing that SB 51 is doing now. The same entities who pushed SB 1 are the ones driving SB 51. (watch the video embedded in this blog).
Let's review the language of SB 1 taken from the special session called in December trying to drive this bill to us in an emergency clause:
Exact Language from SB 1 below:
4. Any premises owner that operates in substantial compliance with, or is reasonably consistent with, federal or state law or regulation, executive order, health order of the director of the Missouri department of health and senior services, or rule, regulation, ordinance, or public health guidance issued by a public health authority, which was applicable at the time the conduct or the risk allegedly caused harm, shall not be liable for a claim related to conduct intended to reduce an exposure claim.
THE SAME PEOPLE WHO WROTE SB 51 WROTE SB 1 listed above. In real words...if you operate your premises (business, school, church, home) in substantial compliance, or are reasonably consistent with federal REGULATIONS (from unelected bureaucratic departments of the fed and state governments), executive order (think Joe Biden), health order of the director of the DHSS (unelected bureaucrat), ordinance, or PUBLIC HEALTH GUIDANCE issued by a PUBLIC HEALTH AUTHORITY (what in the world does that even mean? The WHO, the CDC, the NIH, the UN?) SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR A CLAIM RELATED TO CONDUCT INTENDED TO REDUCE AN EXPOSURE CLAIM.
REMEMBER: The same authors who write that language have written SB 51 with the same intent and purpose in mind and that should make us all feel very uncomfortable.
CLAIM/Talking Point: Sb 51 helps to put common sense over fear of lawsuits on COVID related exposures. If Missouri does not pass SB 51, with all the great amendments made by the Republican Senate in response to concerns of our strong conservatives, we will become a state where the trial lawyers dissect our businesses and dismantle our health care provider heroes for years to come. We must fight back against the misinformation being pushed by the trial lawyers who want only to sue our state into bankruptcy. Fight back against fear and the trial lawyers and support passage of SB 51 and 42 to create strong lawsuit protections from COVID lawsuits.
TRUTH: We are not trial attorneys. We have never consulted a trial attorney. We have never seen ONE talking point from a trial attorney. We do not EVEN KNOW a trial attorney. The fear is coming from the lobbyists and their corporate connections who are funneling cash to subservient politicians who would dare push these talking points on their constituents in exchange for a political kiss on the forehead in the form of dark money from Super PACs that undermine our rights as Missourians. This is an attempt by attorneys and lobbyists for TORT REFORM to leverage fear over the people of Missouri by never letting a good pandemic go to waste to push their agenda on all of us. You have the power if you will harness it. Do your own research and call your neighbors. Demand answers and not talking points. Kill SB 51.
Remember these words, let it serve as a warning. Accountability is the goal. First, they should do no harm. That means they need to do their own research, listen to their constituents, and stop echoing talking points in masse from lobbyists and attorneys who are driving these bad bills.