House Passes Bill Some Say Gives Landowners Immunity

House Passes Bill Some Say Gives Landowners Immunity
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House Members Vote on Senate Bill 2901
Desare Frazier

A bill is making its way through the Mississippi legislature could limit a landowners liability when someone is seriously injured on their property. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.

Mississippi lawmakers in the House are debating Senate Bill 2901. House Republican Mark Baker of Brandon, an attorney, supports the measure. He says the Landowner's Protection Act clarifies when property owners are liable for serious crimes.

"What we're talking about are willful, wanton and intentional conduct. For example, if somebody comes on the property and shoots somebody or causes serious harm intentionally to somebody," said Baker.

Baker says the bill would require victims of a crime prove there was an atmosphere of violence at the location. There would have to be three separate felonies at the property within three years that resulted in arraignments. Baker adds property owners would also have to know the prepetrator had violent tendencies. House Democrats David Baria of Bay St. Louis is an attorney.

"You're never going to be able to prove that a premises owner did those things. So what we're doing here folks is we're creating landowner immunity. That's what this oughta be called, Landowner Immunity Act," said Baria.

House Democrat Ed Blackmon of Canton is also an attorney. He's concerned some businesses won't put security measures in place to protect customers.

"There will be some who'll take advantage of it. They don't have to do anything to make sure you're entering into their business and they've taken the precautions a reasonable business would take to ensure or protect your safety," said Blackmon.

No other Republicans spoke in favor of the bill. SB 2901 passed 73 to 39. The measure is being held possibly for more debate.