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The concept of sovereign immunity is troubling because it places government agencies which have a great deal of power in a position of less accountability for abuse of power or for neglect in the care and maintenance of their duties.
While we understand that UT Tyler is in a unique position as the only state institute of higher education against which the legislature expressly grants consent to suite, we still view this bill as being against the interests of limited government. Rather than place UT Tyler on equal footing with other public universities by repealing legislative consent for suites against the university, we would prefer to see other public universities placed on equal footing with UT Tyler by granting legislative consent for them to be sued.
We strongly support tort reform and support efforts to minimize frivolous lawsuits. However, granting sovereign immunity to units of government is a swing of the pendulum too far in the opposite direction. The court system is often the only recourse harmed individuals have when a government agency is in the wrong. Removing that avenue of recourse detracts from government accountability. For these reasons, we oppose SB 1223.