Ohio Business Immunity Bill Clears Hurdles in House

This week, the Ohio House completed action on House Bill 606 — legislation granting civil immunity to businesses during COVID-19 — and sent the measure to the Senate. Passed on an 83-9 vote, the immunity bill bars civil action related to deaths, injuries or losses tied to transmission of COVID-19 in cases without reckless or intentional conduct. The latest version of HB 606 includes manufacturers making pandemic-related protective equipment. The OMA supports the bill overall.

House negotiators had to win Democratic votes in order to obtain a supermajority, needed to trigger the bill’s emergency clause and provide immediate effectiveness upon enactment. Before approving the measure, the chamber accepted a floor amendment that classifies COVID-19 as an occupational disease that qualifies first responders, food workers and corrections officers for workers’ compensation benefits. (See story below.)

Across the Rotunda, the Senate is nearing completion on a similar legislation, Senate Bill 308. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) this week reviewed an updated version of the legislation. Further negotiations are to be expected in the next week to reconcile the versions. Supportive manufacturers can add their voice to the debate by sending a letter of support to your state legislators. 5/28/2020