A invoice to offer a variety of Kentucky companies legal responsibility protections associated to the COVID-19 pandemic went into legislation Sunday, although it did so with out the signature of Gov. Andy Beshear.
Kentucky lawmakers handed Senate Invoice 5 on the ultimate day of the 2021 legislative session, and the governor had till midnight on Saturday to both signal or veto the measure, with it changing into legislation if he took neither motion.
A veto would have killed SB 5, because the legislature couldn’t have voted to override the invoice.
Spokespersons for Beshear didn’t instantly reply to inquiries on why the governor determined to let the invoice change into legislation with out his signature.
SB 5 says companies deemed “important service suppliers” throughout Kentucky’s declared emergency for COVID-19 are usually not accountable for any declare associated to the pandemic, as long as they made religion effort to adjust to authorities rules and didn’t commit “gross negligence, or wanton, willful, malicious, or intentional misconduct.”
Along with the companies declared important by Beshear’s govt order in March 2020 when the pandemic hit, the invoice consists of well being care and Medicaid waiver suppliers, elementary and secondary colleges, baby care suppliers, funeral companies, native authorities businesses and producers producing hygienic gadgets and private protecting gear.
The unique model of the invoice prolonged legal responsibility safety to such organizations for one yr after the declared emergency ended, but it surely was later amended to finish immunity as soon as the emergency is over.
The invoice handed each chambers on a principally party-line vote with Republicans favoring it and Democrats in opposition, although a lot of GOP members who’re attorneys criticized the invoice as overreach.
The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and different native enterprise and authorities teams lobbied closely for the invoice, which was sponsored by Republican Senate President Robert Stivers.
Kentucky Chamber CEO Ashli Watts praised SB 5 going into legislation by noting Kentucky joins nearly all of states in passing such a legislation.
“This previous yr has created challenges not like something we now have seen, however the pandemic has proven us Kentuckians will rise to the problem to serve and defend each other,” Watts said.
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