State Representatives Bill Blessing (R-Colerain Twp.) and Al Landis (R-Dover) applauded the Ohio House’s passage of House Bill 17, legislation that gives legal protection to architects, engineers, surveyors and tradespersons who provide their expertise and service during a time of emergency, like a tornado.

“I am pleased to announce the passage of House Bill 17, which will provide immunity to architects, engineers, surveyors and tradespersons during times of declared emergency,” Blessing said. “The people of Ohio can be assured that when disasters occur the best people will be able to provide expertise and service to ensure the safety of all.”

Under the bill, which is similar to legislation that passed out of the House in the previous General Assembly, volunteers who are acting in those capacities are granted immunity from civil liability for errors or omissions that occur while performing their services. Current law provides no protections against civil lawsuits for people in those professions working in their official capacities.

“When there is a declared emergency we want our ‘A’ team in the game, not on the bench,” said Rep. Landis. “House Bill 17 will assure us that when we need skilled volunteers they no longer have to fear reprisal for making a decision to get involved.”

Immunity extends throughout the period of a declared emergency, as well as 90 days following.

The bill now heads to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

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