Protections for businesses, schools, and others against frivolous COVID-19 lawsuits passes through state Senate

A bill to provide liability protections for businesses, schools, and individuals in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic passed through the Senate with a 24-11 vote Monday.

Senate Bill 5, sponsored by Senate President Robert Stivers, would provide premises-based protections for businesses, organizations, schools, and individuals who have reopened and are following recommended guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic. This is intended to help give protections to individuals operating in good faith to comply with constantly changing guidelines and regulations from multiple entities.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Stivers pointed to the flooding happening across the state and the way that all operating norms are thrown out the window in an emergency and services that are essential must still operate to ensure Kentuckians have what they need.

This has absolutely been the case with the COVID-19 pandemic, Stivers said.

The bill had many floor amendments, some of which were adopted, others defeated, and one withdrawn. The floor amendments that were adopted dealt with excluding roadways to ensure negligent drivers don’t have protections, as well as amendments from Stivers that clarify the definition of essential services, deal with protections of entities providing services at the request of or in conjunction with the state, and the statute of limitations of property damages.

The legislation also contains a Senate committee substitute that made the bill specific to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senate Bill 5 now moves to the state House for consideration in committee.

Categories: 2021 General Assembly

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