Missouri House Seeks to Advance Simple COVID Liability Legislation

Rep. Ben Baker

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri House of Representatives is seemingly on their way to passing out legislation to address the concerns of COVID liability in the Show-Me State.

State Rep. Ben Baker’s HB 1358 seeks to exempt premises’ owners from criminal or civil liability in the case of exposure to a contagious disease, unless the owner “knowingly and purposely” causes someone to be exposed to a clinical disease.

The bill was given initial approval on the House floor Thursday morning after the standard of proving exposure with malice was struck from the bill’s language.

Baker’s legislation differs from other COVID liability measures in the legislature this session, as he purposely pared his bill to avoid broad and ambiguous language and instead focus on one simple and clear cut purpose: to protect businesses from lawsuits over exposure to COVID 19.

“In the midst of a pandemic, our focus is protecting citizens from sickness but also protecting our small business owners and giving them the tools they need to stay in business,” said Baker, R-Neosho. “That means not just putting placed preventative measures against the spreading of disease, but also preventing frivolous lawsuits.”

The bill still needs to be third read and passed out of the House before heading to the Senate for final approval. The last day of the legislative session is May 15, 2021.

For more questions, contact Rep. Baker’s office at 573-751-9781.