SEMA eNews Vol. 23, No. 34, August 20, 2020

States Enact SEMA-Supported COVID-19 Liability Protections

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

Nevada and Tennessee are the latest states to enact versions of SEMA-supported liability protection legislation. They join Georgia, North Carolina, Utah, Wyoming, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Kansas, which have all have enacted laws to provide businesses that follow public health guidance protection from unreasonable lawsuits related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The Governors of both Nevada and Tennessee called their state legislatures into a special session to address issues that arose due to the pandemic. The Nevada legislature passed Senate Bill 4, which was subsequently signed into law by Governor Sisolak. The law provides liability protections for businesses, government agencies and nonprofits; however, it excludes certain medical facilities from these protections.

In Tennessee, Governor Lee commended the COVID-19 liability protection legislation as “historic” and signed the bill into law after it was passed by large majorities in both the Tennessee House and Senate. The law limits liability for businesses, schools and nursing homes, and theses protections are retroactive to August 3.

While these laws limit liability for businesses in certain states, SEMA and countless other trade associations and companies continue to push for wide-spread action on this issue from the U.S. Congress. Passing temporary and targeted COVID-19 liability protection on the Federal level would ensure businesses attempting to get back on their feet are not hindered by the threat of frivolous lawsuits.

For more information, contact Caroline Fletcher at stateleg@sema.org.

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