COVID liability protection clears Senate, but without an early effective date
February 23, 2021 - The Missouri Senate today approved SB 51 & 42, a bill sponsored by Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, a bill that would provide limited protection against COVID-related lawsuits.
But while the bill was approved overwhelmingly on a 20-13 vote, the emergency clause failed to receive the required 2/3 majority as five Republicans voted against the clause. The bill as passed by the Senate today would be effective August 28, 2021, if passed by the House in its current form.
"The emergency clause was essential to the value of this bill," said Ray McCarty, President and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri. "The plaintiffs' attorneys are salivating at the opportunity of filing COVID lawsuits and they know the failure of the emergency clause means they may file nearly all COVID-related claims before the August 28 regular effective date of the bill. This places all Missouri businesses at risk of such lawsuits for exposures from the beginning of the pandemic in March of last year through August 28 of this year," he said.
Republicans voting against the bill were Senators Eigel, Brattin, Moon and Wieland. Another Republican, Sen. Hoskins, joined them in voting against the emergency clause.
The bill will now advance to the Missouri House for further consideration.