The AP reports via the Durango Herald:
Colorado legislators agreed Thursday with a compromise suggestion from Attorney General John Suthers, a Republican who chastised members of his own party in the state House for seeking a way to give victims of the Lower North Fork Fire compensation beyond the $600,000 allowed under the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act.
Some Democrats agreed with Suthers, setting up a potentially ugly political confrontation in the closing days of the Colorado Legislature. Suthers’ proposal was to keep the liability cap, but add state-set fires to the exemptions.
The proposal would allow fire victims to seek amounts greater than $600,000 while preserving the overall liability cap, which is in place to protect state taxpayers from unlimited payments in damage claims.
So ends what might otherwise have been an ugly fight between a Republican Attorney General and the GOP-controlled Colorado House. We’ve said all along that there was a powerful case for fairly compensating the victims of the Lower North Fork Fire, but to do so with legislation that only pertains to the one event would be unfair, cheap, political–and as Suthers says, illegal.
With this solution, these and future fire victims in similar circumstances will be fairly compensated, and we’re a bit baffled as to why the House GOP didn’t come up with it originally.
But this whole GOP in favor of bigger damage awards thing is kind of weird for everybody.