COLUMBUS – State Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) joined his House colleagues today in passing House Bill 606, legislation that protects individuals, healthcare professionals, and businesses from unforeseen liability as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill passed with a veto-proof majority of both Republicans and Democrats.
“I’m proud to support legislation that gives our businesses more confidence as we move forward in reviving our economy,” said Koehler. “As Ohio businesses begin reopening after months of uncertainty, it’s important they have the reassurance that they are protected from excessive and costly civil lawsuits.”
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.
A variety of organizations voiced their support for the legislation, including 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, and the Ohio Hospital Association.
The legislation passed out of the House Civil Justice Committee earlier this week before proceeding to the House floor. The bill now awaits further action in the Senate.