JEFFERSON CITY — Legislation sponsored by State Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville, to protect small businesses, frontline health care workers, schools and churches from lawsuits related to COVID-19 passed Missouri’s upper legislative chamber. Senate Bill 51 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
“The governor called on us to enact COVID-19 liability protections for small businesses and health care workers. The Senate’s vote today brings our state closer to the day when Missouri can finally put the pandemic behind us,” Sen. Luetkemeyer said. “Senate Bill 51 provides Missouri’s small businesses the confidence to reopen, so our economy can thrive again.”
The bill raises the hurdle for liability for COVID-19 related lawsuits by protecting against unmerited civil actions against health care workers, first responders and small businesses. Additional provisions provide heightened protections for religious institutions from pandemic-related lawsuits. The bill received wide support from business groups, which said COVID-19 liability legislation was essential to employers.
“The threat of COVID-19 litigation looms over every employer in Missouri and hurts our state’s ability to recover from the pandemic,” said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “We regularly hear from employers who are reluctant to reopen and return to work knowing they could be exposed to frivolous lawsuits. We urge lawmakers to pass this much-needed legislation as soon as possible.”
For more information about Sen. Luetkemeyer, visit www.senate.mo.gov/mem34.