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As I See It

Immunity laws prevent justice for all



It is important to have rules. But it is also important those rules be enforced fairly and consistently. That is not the case in Wisconsin. That is because too many people are granted immunity from the state’s laws. Wisconsin currently has 35 individual immunity laws on its books. These are laws that protect a certain segment of our society from wrongdoing because they were successful in lobbying the legislature to protect them. They cannot be held responsible for their mistakes because of the immunity laws. There may be more of these immunity laws coming. A bill currently pending in the Wisconsin legislature would absolve owners of campgrounds, and their employees, from almost all responsibility for injuries they cause while running their business. If this bill passes into law, if you get sick from swimming in their dirty water, or cut yourself on a jagged edge, you would have no recourse. Such immunity laws practically encourage those with immunity to act recklessly. Why take precautions? After all, you have immunity. Some immunity laws make sense, but only when they protect both sides. For example, Wisconsin employees who are injured on the job are barred from suing their employers. That’s why we have Worker’s Compensation laws, so workers hurt on the job can get relief. But many of these other immunity laws simply leave those harmed with no recourse. Our system of justice should ensure justice for all, not just the privileged few.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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