Idaho lawmakers seek special session for liability shield law

Idaho lawmakers on Thursday voted for proposed legislation creating a liability shield for protection against lawsuits during declared emergencies such as the coronavirus pandemic, and are asking Republican Gov. Brad Little to call the Legislature back into session to pass it.

A majority of House and Senate lawmakers on the Judiciary and Rules Working Group say such a law is needed to protect government entities and private businesses.

Some lawmakers opposed to the legislation said a liability shield will remove incentives for businesses and government to take precautions.

Little is the only one who can call the part-time Legislature back into session, which otherwise wouldn’t meet until early January.

Lawmakers in favor of the legislation say current law leaves businesses and schools open to lawsuits during an emergency. As an example, one lawmaker noted that a family could sue if a child got the coronavirus at school, passed it on to a grandparent who died as a result.

Businesses could also be sued if someone believes they became infected while at the business, lawmakers said.

Virus cases and deaths have been climbing rapidly in Idaho in the last month, with nearly 20,000 infected and 173 deaths through Wednesday according to Johns Hopkins University. (AP)