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Get the latest coverage of the 2021 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

Proposed State COVID Business Liability Protections Could Soon Become Law

Florida received an estimated 2,500 more first-time unemployment claims last week than the week prior.
Florida received an estimated 2,500 more first-time unemployment claims last week than the week prior.

Florida would join other states in providing similar protections.

Proposed state legislation to shield businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits could pass early this session.

"I look forward to these great bills becoming law early this session," State Senate President Wilton Simpson told fellow lawmakers in his opening address.

With support from Gov. Ron DeSantis, the state could join many others that have already adopted similar business liability protections.

"The vast majority of these businesses made a good faith effort to adhere to ever-changing guidelines," he said. "Our bills strike the right balance between shielding those that did their best under difficult circumstances while protecting consumers.”

Simpson says throughout the pandemic businesses have "taken risks" and "struggled to stay open."

The Senate version of the bill - SB 72 - is getting a second committee reading on Tuesday afternoon at 3:30. The House version - HB 7 - is headed to a floor vote later this week.

Many other states have already adopted or are considering legislation that provides some protection against coronavirus-related claims.
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Valerie Crowder is a freelance reporter based in Panama City, Florida. Before moving to Florida, she covered politics and education for Public Radio East in New Bern, North Carolina. While at PRE, she was also a fill-in host during All Things Considered. She got her start in public radio at WAER-FM in Syracuse, New York, where she was a part-time reporter, assistant producer and host. She has a B.A. in newspaper online journalism and political science from Syracuse University. When she’s not reporting the news, she enjoys reading classic fiction and thrillers, hiking with members of the Florida Trail Association and doing yoga.
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