Child abuse tort claim measure vetoed

A bill that allowed political subdivisions to be sued for harm caused to a child by sexual or other abuse under certain circumstances was vetoed by Gov. Jim Pillen April 24.

Sen. Justin Wayne
Sen. Justin Wayne

LB25, sponsored by Omaha Sen. Justin Wayne, allowed civil claims involving child sexual or other abuse under the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act. The existing act — which applies to local government entities that are legally separate from the state, such as counties, municipalities, school districts and others — has a $1 million cap.

Under the bill, claims could be filed under the act if the harm done to a child was a “proximate result” of a political subdivision’s failure to exercise reasonable control over an employee or failure to protect a person in their care, custody or control from harm by a non-employee.

LB25 passed on a 28-17 vote April 18, the last day of the legislative session.

In his veto letter, Pillen called the bill “overbroad” because it applied to all political subdivisions and to the actions of individuals who are not employed by the government. The measure would unfairly burden Nebraska taxpayers, he said, and victims of child abuse and their families already have criminal and civil remedies under existing law.

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