COLUMBUS – State Rep. Tracy Richardson (R-Marysville) yesterday joined her House colleagues in passing House Bill 606, legislation that protects individuals, healthcare professionals, and businesses from unforeseen liability as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Richardson actively contributed to the creation of the bill on behalf of businesses as a result of the concerns raised to her by business owners.

“H.B. 606 will give businesses and individuals the peace of mind that they will not be unfairly targeted with litigation,” said Richardson. “Ohio workers and employers have endured months of uncertainty, and this legislation will give them greater confidence as we continue to reopen Ohio.”

The Good Samaritan Expansion Bill ensures civil immunity to the healthcare community, businesses, schools, and individuals from lawsuits arising out of the pandemic. Healthcare providers are immune for the actions, omissions, decisions or compliance with government orders unless it constitutes reckless disregard for life or health of the patient. Businesses, individuals, and families receive immunity for the transmission, contraction, or exposure to SARS, MERS, COVID-19 or any mutation, unless they are reckless, participate in willful and wanton, or intentional misconduct.

The immunity is set to last from March 9, 2020, the date of the emergency declaration, through December 31, 2020.

“The bill doesn't take away rights, nor does it discourage people from being responsible and caring about others,” added Richardson. “It gives peace of mind and important protections.”

Organizations from a variety of industries submitted their support for H.B. 606, including the Ohio Healthcare Association, Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, Ohio Association of Civil Justice, Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Athletic Trainers Association, National Federation of Independent Business, Ohio Salon Association, Ohio Manufacturers Association, Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association, Ohio Automobile Dealers Association, Ohio Dental Association, Ohio Hospital Association, and many others.

The legislation received a vote of 83-9 on the House floor. H.B. 606 now heads to the Senate for consideration.

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