House Republicans Pass Reopen Arizona Bill

(Photo by Tinou Bao/Creative Commons)

On Thursday, the Arizona House passed a bill they hope will enable Arizona businesses to reopen without fear of frivolous COVID-19 related lawsuits. HB2912, sponsored by Rep. John Kavanagh, passed along party lines.

After the bill’s passage, the House adjourned sine die.

HB2912, which was shepherded by House Majority Leader Warren Petersen, limits enforcement actions and civil liability during the state of emergency declared by the Governor relating to the COVID-19 outbreak. The bill reduces the penalties for infractions related to the COVID-19 emergency orders to no more than $100.

Senator Eddie Farnsworth is sponsoring similar legislation in the state Senate.

HB2912 Provisions:

1. Prohibits charging, adjudicating, or convicting a person of an act prohibited or required by executive order.
a) Applies only to the executive orders issued during the Governor’s state of emergency and relating to the COVID-19 outbreak.
b) Contains a retroactivity clause of March 11, 2020. (Sec. 1)

2. Places, beginning March 11, 2020, a civil penalty not to exceed $100 on a person who knowingly fails or refuses to obey an executive order if the person is notified of the violation and does not remedy the violation within 24 hours of receiving the notice.
a) Applies only to the executive orders issued during the Governor’s state of emergency and relating to the COVID-19 outbreak.
b) Contains a retroactivity clause of March 11, 2020. (Sec. 1)

3. Prohibits, beginning March 11, 2020, the state or any political subdivision issuing a business, service, or professional license or permit in its jurisdiction from suspending or revoking a license or permit based on actions directly prohibited or required by executive order.
a) Applies only to the executive orders issued during the Governor’s state of emergency and relating to the COVID-19 outbreak.
b) Contains a retroactivity clause of March 11, 2020. (Sec. 1)

4. Exempts a school or person from being liable, except in cases of gross negligence, to an individual who contracts COVID-19 during the state of emergency order related to the COVID-19 outbreak, including after the individual enters or remains on the premises of the school or
person.
a) Expands the definition of a person to include an individual who owns or operates a business, corporation, limited liability company, church, religious institution or nonprofit organization.
b) Defines school as a public, charter or private school providing K-12 instruction, a university, a community college, an accredited private postsecondary institution, a vocational program, or a vocational education program. (Sec. 2)

5. States the burden of proof in a civil action is based on the plaintiff contracting COVID-19 and clear and convincing evidence the school or person acted with gross negligence.
a) Specifies the burden of proof standard applies to all causes of actions accruing before, on or after the effective date. (Sec. 2)

The bill also contains a severability clause.

 

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