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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: June 17, 2020 10:13 AM
From: Representative Kate A. Klunk
To: All House members
Subject: Limitation of Liability Legislation
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to protect the continued viability of nonprofit children and youth social service agencies, which are currently facing uncertain liabilities resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.  
The risk posed by the virus itself, the changes to standard procedures necessitated by this risk, and the lack of clear and effective guidance from the Department of Human Services have combined to create substantial uncertainty in terms of potential liability. And this level of uncertainty could not have been thrust upon provider agencies at a worse time: For several years, insurers have been dropping out of the market. Those that stay are drastically increasing premiums, even as they reduce coverage. As a result, providers of foster care, adoption, residential treatment centers, and other placement services are finding it increasingly cost prohibitive, if not impossible, to obtain professional liability insurance. The introduction of COVID-19 along with all of the accompanying risks into this insurance environment could force these agencies to close their doors, which would severely compromise our ability to provide adequate services to hundreds of already at-risk children. 
My bill will make the limits on damage awards that currently apply to county children and youth agencies also apply to the nonprofits that are out there doing the same work. It will NOT provide the agencies with immunity for any type or class of claim.  
Though the change I propose is modest, I believe it is crucial, and I ask for your support.  

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Introduced as HB444