Immunity Bill Clears Senate (Again); All Eyes on House

In an effort to advance stalled legislation that would protect businesses from COVID-related lawsuits, the Ohio Senate this week amended and approved House Bill 606, which now goes back to the House. The Senate’s action potentially sets up yet another conference committee, unless the House accepts the Senate’s changes. The amended bill was approved 23-6 along partisan lines.

Among the Senate’s changes to HB 606 was the removal of a House-approved, union-driven provision that would have expanded workers’ compensation by shifting the burden of proof to the employer and eliminating an employer’s defenses. As noted in OMA testimony, this would have especially burdened food and beverage manufacturers. Fortunately, the Senate restored the provision to current law, which is working.

The House is not scheduled to return to Columbus until mid-September. The OMA is urging House lawmakers to finish the job soon to provide Ohio businesses with some protection during the recovery. The OMA applauds Senate President Larry Obhof and members of his caucus for taking action on HB 606 before the summer recess. 7/1/2020