Bill Text: NH HB149 | 2021 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Extending certain civil immunity to public and private entities during major public health emergencies.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 7-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-01-04 - Introduced (in recess of) 01/06/2021 and referred to Judiciary [HB149 Detail]

Download: New_Hampshire-2021-HB149-Introduced.html

HB 149-FN - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2021 SESSION

21-0129

05/04

 

HOUSE BILL 149-FN

 

AN ACT extending certain civil immunity to public and private entities during major public health emergencies.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Stapleton, Sull. 5; Rep. Marsh, Carr. 8; Rep. M. Pearson, Rock. 34; Rep. Ulery, Hills. 37; Rep. Rollins, Sull. 6; Rep. Steven Smith, Sull. 11; Rep. Baldasaro, Rock. 5

 

COMMITTEE: Judiciary

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill establishes immunity from civil liability for public and private entities during a declared state of emergency due to a public health risk if the entity was acting in good faith and in accordance with public health and safety directives.

 

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

21-0129

05/04

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty One

 

AN ACT extending certain civil immunity to public and private entities during major public health emergencies.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  Statement of Findings.  The general court finds that, during a declared state of emergency due to a public health risk, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals should be aware that the use of certain facilities, goods, and services may present a risk of exposure and infection, and as a matter of personal responsibility, individuals should take such precautions for their own protection as they deem necessary and should act in compliance with such government directives and health safety protocols as may be in effect to ensure their own safety.

2  New Section; Limited Immunity from Civil Liability During Declared State of Emergency.  Amend RSA 508 by inserting after section 22 the following new section:

508:23  Limited Immunity During Declared State of Emergency Due to Public Health Risk.

I.  A person shall be immune from civil liability for actual or alleged injury, disability, or death arising out of exposure to or infection from a declared public health risk during a state of emergency under RSA 4:45 if the person acted in good faith and in accordance with any applicable executive order, public health safety protocol, or other government guidance to make their goods, services, or property safe for the procurement, use, or presence of and by the public; provided that such immunity shall not apply in the case of willful negligence, wanton disregard, or malicious or intentional misconduct.

II.  In this section:

(a)  "Government guidance" means the emergency orders of the governor of the state of New Hampshire, and any applicable written guidelines or health safety protocols issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the department of health and human services, division of public health, and the department of safety, division of homeland security and emergency management.

(b)  "Person" means an individual and any public or private entity, including, but not limited to, businesses and sole proprietorships, industries, schools, municipalities, healthcare providers, charitable and religious entities, state and local government agencies, and social and political organizations.

3  Severability.  If any provision of RSA 508:23 or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of RSA 508:23 which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end, such provisions are declared to be severable.

4  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect upon its passage.

 

LBA

21-0129

12/2/20

 

HB 149-FN- FISCAL NOTE

AS INTRODUCED

 

AN ACT extending certain civil immunity to public and private entities during major public health emergencies.

 

FISCAL IMPACT:      [ X ] State              [    ] County               [    ] Local              [    ] None

 

 

 

Estimated Increase / (Decrease)

STATE:

FY 2021

FY 2022

FY 2023

FY 2024

   Appropriation

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

$0

Indeterminable Decrease

Indeterminable Decrease

Indeterminable Decrease

Funding Source:

  [ X ] General            [    ] Education            [    ] Highway           [    ] Other

 

 

 

 

 

COUNTY:

 

 

 

 

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

$0

Indeterminable Decrease

Indeterminable Decrease

Indeterminable Decrease

 

 

 

 

 

LOCAL:

 

 

 

 

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

$0

Indeterminable Decrease

Indeterminable Decrease

Indeterminable Decrease

 

METHODOLOGY:

This bill establishes immunity from civil liability for public and private entities during a declared state of emergency due to a public health risk if the entity was acting in good faith and in accordance with public health and safety directives.

 

The Department of Justice defends legal claims against the State and its agencies.  This bill would provide a defense the Department could raise in lawsuits claiming injury caused by the State or its agencies arising in the wake of a public health emergency.  It would likely spare the Department of Justice litigation costs and the State the cost of financial damages.  The Department cannot anticipate how many claims may be brought against the State or its agencies in the wake of public health emergencies.  Therefore, the Department indicates fiscal impact cannot be determined.

The Judicial Branch assumes this bill if enacted into law would not have a significant effect on the number of civil cases brought in either the Superior Court or the Circuit Court.  The Branch does not expect any significant effect on its operations or the number of filed cases as a result of this proposed legislation.

 

It is assumed the fiscal impact of this bill will not occur until FY 2022.

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Department of Justice and Judicial Branch

 

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