In his State of the State address on Feb. 2, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott advocated liability protections for businesses faced with lawsuits related to the coronavirus pandemic.
In his prepared remarks, Abbott said business owners “have gone above and beyond throughout the pandemic to open and to operate safely.” Those “businesses now face the crosshairs of lawsuits. Texas businesses that have operated in good faith shouldn’t have their livelihoods destroyed by frivolous lawsuits,” he added.
Deeming it an emergency item during the current legislative session, Abbott called on state lawmakers to quickly pass legislation that “provides civil liability protections for individuals, businesses, and healthcare providers that operated safely during the pandemic.”
Various business interests have praised the governor’s call for protection businesses from COVID-19 liability.
In a statement, Dr. Emily Knight, CEO of the Texas Restaurants Association, said “COVID-19 has devastated the restaurant industry, but with tools like liability protections, we can work together to ensure the Texas economy recovers stronger than ever.”
Similarly, National Federation of Independent Business State Director Annie Spillman said in a media release that Federation “members are especially relieved by the governor’s support for COVID-19 liability protections for small businesses. Bad actors should be held accountable, but businesses that follow the government’s safety guideless to protect their customers and employees from the coronavirus should be protected from predatory trial lawyers trying to profit from the pandemic.”
Business liability protection is one of five priority items that Abbott wants lawmakers to concentrate on early in this legislative session, which convened on Jan. 12. Other emergency items cited by the governor include expansion of broadband internet access, police funding protections, election integrity and bail system improvements, according to a report in The Texas Tribune.
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