Ohio Legislature Takes Up Key Legislation to Aid Ohio’s Economic Recovery

Two vital pieces of legislation that will help Ohio’s economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic received hearings in the Ohio General Assembly this week. These bills, House Bill 606 and Senate Bill 308, play an important role in Ohio’s economic recovery because they remove obstacles to re-opening and incentives to continue substantially altering business operations by providing all businesses with legal protection from coronavirus related lawsuits. 

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce supports both the Ohio House and Ohio Senate bills because each grant coronavirus exposure liability protections to all employers in the Buckeye State. There are subtle differences between the legislation, but both will have a positive impact on Ohio’s business community if enacted.

This week, Senate Bill 308 had its second hearing following a committee hearing last week, and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce submitted proponent testimony for the bill. In our testimony, we highlighted how providing legal protections to employers aids Ohio’s economic recovery as businesses begin to re-open. Also, we shared our belief that enacting additional legal protections from coronavirus lawsuits recognizes how the risk of coronavirus exposure exists even when an employer is adhering to every applicable government order.

House Bill 606 had two hearings this week where the bill sponsor, Rep. Diane Grendell, and the first round of proponents had an opportunity to share their perspective of the bill. The Ohio Chamber is slated to testify as a proponent of House Bill 606 this upcoming week on Tuesday, and we are likely to highlight many of the same points we raised in support of Senate Bill 308.

The Ohio Chamber appreciates that both the Ohio House and Ohio Senate have recognized how important it is to give employers additional legal protections from coronavirus lawsuits in order to restart the economy. The essential businesses that remained opened through the Stay-at-Home Order and businesses that are beginning to re-open are indispensable parts of Ohio’s economic rebound, so putting in place immunity that will enable these companies to operate as close to how they operated prior to the pandemic helps speed up our economic recovery.

The Ohio Chamber eagerly awaits further legislative action on HB 606 and SB 308 and stands ready to help lawmakers enact legal protections from coronavirus lawsuits for all employers in our state.