...an avalanche of “predatory” lawsuits could cripple economic recovery from the pandemic.
“Florida’s businesses and health care facilities that continue to do their best to keep employees, customers and patients safe will no longer have to fear frivolous lawsuits as they continue relaunching Florida’s economy,” Chamber CEO Mark Wilson said.
“By signing this bill into law, Florida has once again acted decisively, and demonstrated to the rest of the nation that states can protect consumers and allow the economy to continue to prosper,” Florida Council of 100 Chair Syd Kitson said in a statement. “As a result, Florida is attracting entrepreneurs and companies from other states.”
Originally, SB 72/HB 7 precluded the health care industry with protections for providers, hospitals, clinics and physicians addressed in a separate Senate-House companion bill.
That measure was merged by the Senate Rules Committee on March 11 into SB 72, which was subsequently approved by the Senate, 24-15, on March 18, sending it to the House and, on March 29, to DeSantis’ desk.
Incorporating SB 74’s health care protections into SB 72 was necessary expediency, Simpson said.
“We had businesses, front line workers and health care that in the face of the tragedy they were facing last March, April and May had to go to work every day,” she said. “This bill was essential to protect those folks.”
All state legislatures during 2020 and 2021 sessions have deliberated on COVID-19 liability protections for businesses with Louisiana the only exception this year because its legislature hasn’t convened yet.
Florida’s SB 72 is similar to bills being considered or already adopted in Missouri, Nebraska, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Indiana.