State Representatives Al Landis (R-Dover) and Bill Blessing (R-Colerain Twp.) today announced the passage of House Bill 379 from the Ohio House of Representatives. Primarily, the bill gives legal protection to architects, engineers, surveyors and tradespersons who provide their expertise and service during a time of emergency, like a tornado.

Under the bill, 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.

“The passage of HB 379 will do much to foster volunteer work from skilled professionals during a declared emergency, while providing more safety and security for the brave men and women involved in search and rescue operations,” said Blessing, who joint-sponsored the legislation with Landis.

“House Bill 379 will enable volunteers during a declared emergency to assist in the many facets that are involved in coping with the aftermath of a disaster,” said Landis. “This legislation is intended to encourage volunteerism from those with the necessary expertise without jeopardizing their professional license or putting themselves at personal financial risk.”

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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