COVID liability issue delayed to regular session as Governor withdraws expanded special session call
Due to a number of circumstances, Governor Parson withdrew his expanded "call" of special session to remove consideration of a COVID liability protection bill earlier this week.
Associated Industries of Missouri and a broad coalition of business groups have worked since before the conclusion of the last regular session to provide protection from frivolous lawsuits against employers, manufacturers, healthcare providers, and others. The protection would have required the protected party following federal, state and local guidelines and statutes to achieve protection and would not have protected those that ignore safety precautions during the COVID pandemic.
"While we are extremely disappointed that agreement was not able to be reached between legislative leaders on the exact language necessary to provide adequate protection, we are encouraged by the level of engagement we have seen from the Governor's staff and House and Senate leaders on this issue and we will work to ensure this is a top priority for passage early in the upcoming 2021 Legislative Session that begins January 6," said Ray McCarty, president of Associated Industries of Missouri.
In addition to disagreements over the language, the special session was hampered by absences due to scheduling difficulties because of previous commitments of some senators, COVID-positive tests of senators and their staff, and a need to pass the appropriation bill necessary to allow state agencies to spend federal CARES Act moneys before the end of the calendar year.
COVID liability protection will be a top priority for Associated Industries of Missouri and the Missouri Civil Justice Reform Coalition in the upcoming legislative session.