Pandemic Liability Reform
Members of Texas’ congressional delegation have previously made clear that any future pandemic relief legislation should include liability protections for business that operate during a pandemic. In fact, Texas Senator John Cornyn has drafted the SAFE TO WORK Act, legislation that would “temporarily limit liability for COVID-19 exposure claims for frontline workers like nurses, doctors, teachers, and small business owners as long as they are following public health guidelines and are not grossly negligent.”
While TAM is supportive of a federal plan like the SAFE TO WORK Act, we realize that Texas cannot simply wait for a federal solution that may never arrive. Therefore, a broad coalition of industry sectors and associations is working to promote legislation that would protect Texas frontline workers and businesses in the same manner as the proposed federal legislation. Ideally, any Texas legislation would be complimentary to a federal plan, but as the federal government stalls on providing such protections, the Texas legislation becomes more important.
It is critical for the Texas Legislature to pass some measure of protection against a battery of frivolous personal injury lawsuits related to a pandemic. Employers, healthcare professionals who provide pandemic care or services, PPE manufacturers, all types of small businesses, schools and colleges, and even churches are at risk from potential lawsuits arising from any infections in a widespread pandemic. The Texas economy’s ability to respond to the COVID-19 disaster, and future events like this, is at stake.