Nebraska small-business owners have a keen interest in Legislative Bill 139
LINCOLN, Neb., Feb. 18, 2021—The Judiciary Committee of the Nebraska Legislature will hold the first hearing on a bill of supreme importance to small-business owners this morning when it convenes for business in Room 1113 at 9:30 a.m. in the State Capitol.
“What is being decided on Legislative Bill 139 comes down to a simple matter of fairness,” said Bob Hallstrom, Nebraska state director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation’s largest small-business advocacy association. “Should people be allowed to sue small businesses for contracting COVID-19 that they could have contracted anywhere?”
According to Sen. Tom Briese’s Statement of Intent, LB 139 “would prohibit individuals from filing a civil lawsuit against another person seeking recovery from COVID-19 exposure or potential exposure unless it relates to a minimum medical condition and unless the claimant can prove, by clear and convincing evidence, the injury or damages constituted gross negligence or willful misconduct.” The bill would also shield health care providers.
“Of all the daily struggles small-business owners have to deal with, from finding qualified employees to missed shipments from suppliers and everything in between, a lawsuit is the joker in the deck that could lead to insolvency from the cost of defending themselves in court,” said Hallstrom. “It’s doubly cruel to accuse them of being the source of a coronavirus that could have been contracted anywhere a customer had been spending the majority of his or her time.”
When states saw Congress fail to come up with a national standard on liability protection, they went into overdrive to come up with protections of their own. Montana was the most recent on February 10, becoming the 17th state to do so. Eight other states are working on liability protection legislation now.
Keep up with the latest on Nebraska small business at www.nfib.com/nebraska or by following NFIB on Twitter @NFIB_NE
For more than 77 years, NFIB has been advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven association. Since its founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses and remains so today. For more information, please visit nfib.com.
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