On February 23, 2021, the Missouri Senate passed a bill with its amendments that aims to stop lawsuits on businesses over alleged COVID-19 exposure. This is one of Governor Parson’s top priorities this year. During the State of the State address, Parson said that it was
the first legislation he wanted on his desk from lawmakers .
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce is encouraging Congress to pass this legislation to protect businesses from wrongful court costs.
What The Bill Says
In summary, SB51 states that a plaintiff must prove that a business or individual acted willfully in misconduct that caused exposure to the virus. This exposure could lead to personal injury. The bill sponsor, Tony Luetkemeyer, said,
Businesses are struggling to stay open or reopen and cannot survive covid-19 lawsuits.
This measure also protects health care providers and manufacturers from liability for the exposure. Although the Republicans have a super majority in the senate, four Republicans voted against the bill . This measure failed to have an immediate effect of the bill once it becomes law. If it passes the House and Parson signs it, the soonest it becomes effective is August 28. You can read the bill in its entirety here. In addition, daniel P. Mehan, president and CEo of Missouri Chamber of Commerce, said,
The threat of covid-19 litigation looms over every employer and hurts our state’s ability to recover from the pandemic.
Where Is The Bill Now?
The bill passed the senate on February 23. Currently it is in the house legislative oversight committee. For a complete series of this bills actions, you can click here.
Any Other States?
Currently twenty-three other states have similar laws. Alongside those laws, most states have pending bills protecting businesses and healthcare workers. For a state by state run down, you can click here.