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House amends, passes ‘Landowner Protection Act’

Mississippi legislative session
Photo by SuperTalk Mississippi News

The ‘Landowner Protection Act’ continues to make its way through the legislature. 

After the bill was originally passed by the Senate, the House followed suit and passed the bill which attempts to reduce liability for property/business owners should a person get hurt on their property and decide to sue.

Those opposed to the bill attempted to argue that reduced liability would lead to a lack of security, but the bill ultimately passed by 73-39. A strike-all amendment was added to the bill, meaning that it will be sent back to Senate for more deliberation rather than being sent to Governor Bryant’s desk. 

The strike-all makes two key changes to the bill, which can be seen below. The first change is in regards to the type of language used to describe the responsibility of the property owner, and the other states that civil liability cannot be based on the prior violent nature of a third party. 

Rep. David Baria (D) was one of the opponents of the bill and argued that the bill gives property owners a sense of immunity when it comes to crimes committed on their land or at their business.

“We are creating landowner immunity,” Baria stated. “No matter how negligent [a property owner was] in failing to have security, lights in the parking lot, cameras, no matter how badly they disregarded those things, you will never be able to hold them responsible.”

Rep. Mark Baker (R) spoke on the bill, and stated that the bill is aimed at clarifying language in the law so that business owners know the “atmosphere of violence for which they will be liable.”

While the bill isn’t on Governor Bryant’s desk yet, he has previously voiced his support for the bill.

“This is to simply protect landowners, farmers, and business owners,” he said. “This is a litigious society, and you’re going to get sued if anybody walks on your property and hurts themselves, and we should not be at risk simply because we own property and try to run a small business.”

The Senate will take a look at the bill with House’s changes and either adopt them or invite conference on the bill. 

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