Arizona’s House Republicans, the majority party running our state, have once again chosen that the mantra of self-responsibility only applies to the people, and that businesses in our state should be shielded from the consequences of their actions.
While returning for a few final days of the legislative session during the coronavirus outbreak, they passed HB2912, a bill that would give businesses almost full legal and civil immunity if they reopen their business in the middle of a historic public health crisis.
They’re leaning into the fake threat, a boogeyman, of “frivolous lawsuits” while ignoring the very real threat from virus transmission. They’re willing to allow businesses to be almost risk-free if they put your life in danger in the way they choose to reopen to the public.
They are truly putting private profits over people’s lives. While many business owners will choose to act responsibly, the ones who don’t should be liable for their reckless actions.
The worst part about this bill is it’s completely unnecessary.
If people do bring frivolous lawsuits as a result of business openings during this pandemic, the courts are more than capable of throwing the lawsuits out immediately and even awarding legal fees to the individuals and businesses who were sued.
This bill endangers the public while sending a signal to the business community that Arizona is not only open for business during this crisis, but that our government is going to turn a blind eye to their actions. It is reprehensible and the absolute opposite of any concept of public service.
This bill will certainly do what it’s intended to do: Protect every penny a businessman can make in Arizona regardless of the ethics and practices of the company. That’s the unfortunate kind of thing you get with one party dominating our lawmaking process.
Are they passing bills that help you and your family? No. Arizona has some of the lowest unemployment benefits in the nation and some House Republicans think we are all being lazy and getting too much help as it is.
Will this bill ensure an establishment takes the necessary precautions to keep you and your family safe? No. It undermines the incentives and the profit motive for a business to act responsibly. Will a business open too soon or stay open when they shouldn’t? Of course. Will a business in Arizona’s actions lead to someone’s death? Absolutely.
But if the House Republicans have their way, there’s nothing anyone will be able to do about that. If we want things to change, we’re going to have to change who controls the Legislature.
Will we continue to elect the same old politicians that talk about family values and then put the almighty dollar above our health?
In this emerging time of pandemic we need a Legislature to represent everyday people. Shame on the 31 House members who came back into sessions to give businesses a get out of jail free card while crushing the rights of the rest of us.
Eric Kurland is running unopposed in the Aug. 4 Primary Election to represent District 23 in the Arizona House of Representatives.