2021 - 2022 LEGISLATURE
April 8, 2021 - Introduced by Senators Johnson, L. Taylor, Roys and Larson,
cosponsored by Representatives
Brostoff, L. Myers, Bowen, Cabrera, Moore
Omokunde, Shelton, Drake, Hebl, Hong, Anderson, Ortiz-Velez,
Considine, Neubauer, Haywood, Baldeh, Goyke and Spreitzer. Referred to
Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety.
1An Act to repeal
895.46 (1) (b), (d), and (dm); and to create
893.822 and 895.46 2
(6m) of the statutes; relating to: eliminating public official immunity as a
3defense to civil liability claims against law enforcement officers and prohibiting
4indemnification for judgments against law enforcement officers.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill provides that immunity granted to public officials under current law
does not apply and is not a defense to civil liability claimed against a law enforcement
officer for any act or failure to act by the officer done in an official capacity or in the
course of his or her agency or employment.
With certain exceptions, current law grants public officials, including law
enforcement officers, immunity from liability for actions taken while acting in an
official capacity or in the course of his or her employment or agency. Public officer
immunity provides immunity from suit for “acts done in the exercise of legislative,
quasi-legislative, judicial or quasi-judicial functions.” As stated by the Wisconsin
Supreme Court, there is, with exceptions, a “general rule of immunity for public
officers in their performance of acts within the scope of employment.” Brown v.
Acuity, 2013 WI 60, ¶ 42, 348 Wis. 2d 603, 623, 833 N.W.2d 96, 106.
The bill also eliminates certain indemnification available under current law for
law enforcement officers. Under current law, law enforcement officers and other
local and state officers, employees, and agents may be eligible for indemnification by
the governmental entity that employs them for any judgment against them (in excess
of any available insurance) for acts committed while carrying out their duties if the
individual is found to be acting within the scope of employment. With certain
exceptions, under current law, officers, employees, and agents may also be entitled
to legal counsel or, if legal counsel is not provided, indemnification for the costs of
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
893.822 of the statutes is created to read:
2893.822 Claims against law enforcement officers; limitations on
In this section, “law enforcement officer” has the meaning given in 4
s. 165.85 (2) (c).
Immunity granted to public officials under s. 893.80 (4) or afforded under 6
common law does not apply and may not be raised as a defense to civil liability 7
claimed against a law enforcement officer for any act or failure to act by the officer 8
done in an official capacity or in the course of his or her agency or employment.
Nothing in this section may be interpreted as affecting any sovereign 10
immunity rights available to the state.
895.46 (1) (b), (d), and (dm) of the statutes are repealed.
895.46 (6m) of the statutes is created to read:
(a) In this subsection, “law enforcement officer” has the meaning 14
given in s. 165.85 (2) (c).
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision in this section, the protection afforded 16
by this section does not apply to any law enforcement officer proceeded against in an 17
official capacity or as an individual because of acts committed while carrying out 18
duties as an officer or employee or as an agent of any department of the state.
(1) This act first applies to causes of action accruing on the effective date of this 2