Missouri House oversight committee downvotes COVID-19 liability bill

By Madison Parry

Following initial Senate approval in February, Senate Bill 51 has been voted down 7-3 in the House Rules-Legislative Oversight Committee. The legislation is designed to protect small businesses, healthcare workers and first responders from lawsuits resulting from COVID-19 exposure. 

Back-and-forth debates on a bill designed to protect businesses and healthcare sector workers from COVID-19 liability lawsuits have resulted in a recent unfortunate outcome in the Missouri House for the bill’s supporters.

Senate Bill 51 was voted down 7-3 in the House Rules-Legislative Oversight Committee. On the Missouri Senate website, the bill description states that it “establishes provisions relating to civil actions arising from COVID-19 pandemic.”

Sponsored by Republican Senator Tony Luetkemeyer of Parkville, the bill was granted initial approval through the Missouri Senate in February 2021.

The three House representatives that voted in support of the bill include Representatives Doug Richey, Hannah Kelly and Mike Haffner, all Republican. The seven that voted against it consisted of four Republican House members and three Democrat. Another member was not present for the vote.