Protecting Businesses and Those Who Serve
Just over one week ago, the governor delivered his State of the State Address in the Senate chamber and called on the General Assembly to deliver a COVID-19 liability protection bill to his desk as the first order of business for the 2021 legislative session. The Senate fulfilled its part of that challenge this week as we perfected my Senate Bill 51. This legislation protects Missouri’s frontline health care workers, small businesses, schools and churches from disruptive lawsuits resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
My legislation protects small businesses, frontline health care workers, schools and churches from pandemic-related civil lawsuits. Businesses that act in good faith will be protected if someone contracts COVID-19 on their premises. Likewise, medical facilities are protected from suits related to elective procedures postponed during the pandemic, or for damages that arise out of the provider’s efforts to provide care, so long as they acted in good faith. Senate Bill 51 also shields businesses that answered the call to make PPE or other critical items to address the pandemic. Auto makers who retooled to produce ventilators, apparel makers who shifted production to face masks and distillers who made hand sanitizer should not be held to the same standards as a company who specializes in those products.
Our economy has been crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Frontline health care workers have literally risked their lives, and those of their families, in order to care for COVID patients. These public-spirited individuals and employers stood up for us, and helped us get through the pandemic. My legislation gives them the assurance they will not be punished for their good deeds.
Also this week, I presented Senate Bill 129 to the Senate Judiciary Committee. This legislation makes it a felony to reveal personal information about a law enforcement officer on the internet. So-called “doxing” is already illegal in Missouri. It is a misdemeanor offense to publish a person’s name, address, Social Security number or other personally identifying information with the intent to cause harm or death. My legislation creates a felony offense when a law enforcement officer’s personal information is published with malicious intent.
Last October, a woman protesting outside a Kansas City police station threatened to publish the identity and school locations of the children of law enforcement officers. The threat was unmistakable: If we don’t get what we want, we’re coming for your kids. This is unacceptable. Police officers sign up for a dangerous job, but they should not have to worry about protesters showing up at their home or confronting family members. These brave individuals protect us every day, and we owe it to them to protect their personal safety.