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COVID-19 Civil Liability Protections Bill On Its Way To The Governor's Desk

In This Together display

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s signature is all that separates Hoosier businesses, health care systems and schools from COVID-19 liability protections. 

The Indiana Senate Monday approved changes made by the House to Senate Bill 1. The bill will prevent most lawsuits related to COVID-19.

READ MORE: COVID-19 Liability Protection Bill Passes Indiana Senate, Prompting Concern From Some Workers

Some Democratic lawmakers raised concerns the bill’s revised language removes the higher standard of care expectations for nursing homes and now gives them the same COVID-19 liability protections as restaurants and retail.

Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) said he believes the bill will prevent Hoosiers from seeking justice for their loved ones in nursing homes during the pandemic.

“You’re not even gonna get your day in court,” said Taylor. “You’re not gonna get to prove that they should of had a heightened standard of care, for your loved one.”

Bill author, Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper), said language was changed in the bill to prevent a loophole for nursing homes to avoid lawsuits. He believes health care providers will continue to be held to a higher standard of care.

Indiana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kevin Brinegar released a statement applauding lawmakers for quickly passing the legislation.

READ MORE:COVID-19 Liability Protections Are A Top Legislative Priority In 2021 Session

“Hoosier businesses that follow accepted COVID-19 safety guidelines should not be subject to litigation that could devastate their companies – many of which are already struggling financially,” Brinegar said in a statement. “That’s why this bill is so important and comes as a great relief to businesses – particularly smaller businesses – across the state.”

The bill passed 39 to 7 and will now go to the governor for final approval.

Contact reporter Samantha at shorton@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @SamHorton5.

For the latest news and resources about COVID-19, bookmark our Coronavirus In Indiana page here

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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