November 23, 2020
On Friday, Nov. 20, the General Assembly sent a critical liability protections bill to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk. A Senate amendment adopted into H.B. 1737 earlier in the week aims to provide targeted and temporary safe harbor protections during the COVID-19 pandemic for businesses that are following state and CDC-issued health and safety orders at this time. The PA Chamber has been calling on elected officials to enact such protections to encourage economic recovery and discourage frivolous lawsuits being filed by plaintiffs’ attorneys who are exploiting this crisis to line their pockets.
In a memo to Senate lawmakers before they passed H.B. 1737 in a bipartisan vote (it received approval on concurrence in the House on Friday), the PA Chamber noted that the legislation has earned the backing of a wide range of constituencies – including advocates for children, nonprofits, the United Way, pediatricians, colleges and universities, school districts and small businesses as well as more than 80 chambers of commerce from throughout the Commonwealth.
The PA Chamber issued a statement after the bill passed urging Gov. Tom Wolf to sign it. “It’s important to note, this legislation does not provide blanket immunity and bad actors will still be held accountable,” PA Chamber President Gene Barr said. “After having spent significant resources to ensure their compliance with state and CDC-issued health and safety guidelines, employers continue to fact an ever-growing avalanche of litigation – in many cases, simply because they’re following the mandates put into place by the administration. As we have heard from so many of our members, these concerns place a constant dark cloud over employers who are already facing numerous financial hurdles working to operate during this pandemic.”
“Limited liability protections are a critical component to moving Pennsylvania forward. We urge Governor Wolf to stand with Pennsylvania’s business, nonprofit, local government, child advocacy, education and medical communities and sign H.B. 1737 into law.”
Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.