September 17, 2020
Legislation championed by the Michigan Chamber to provide temporary and limited COVID-19 liability protections to businesses, nonprofits, universities, schools and others moved out of the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. The legislation is expected to be considered by the Michigan House within the next week or two.
Representative David LaGrand (D-Grand Rapids), the ranking Democrat on the Committee, publicly praised the Chamber for its work on the bill package, giving the Chamber a “nine out of 10” during Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee for its collaboration on the bill package and willingness to respond to his concerns. However, while two Democrats “passed” on their vote, none voted in favor of moving the bills. The reluctance stems from the opposition from the plaintiffs’ bar and labor unions, primarily AFSCME. The Chamber continues to have good conversations with these groups on whether common ground can be found.
The legislation would incentivize job providers and others to follow public health guidance, Executive Orders and the like. It does so by telling them that, if they take reasonable steps to follow the rules, they will be protected against baseless lawsuits, including exposure and other personal injury claims. The legislation also says “thank you” to those businesses that stepped up during the pandemic, donating and producing everything from hand sanitizer to masks to ventilators, by shielding them from liability in many situations.
We will continue to update Chamber members on this important legislation. Please contact Wendy Block with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wendy Block, Vice President of Business Advocacy and Member Engagement, gives an update on the Liability Protection Legislation.