Senate Judiciary Chairman Jeff Brandes (R- St. Petersburg) has taken the reigns on the COVID liability debate by sponsoring two bills — SB 72 and SB 74 — in an attempt to fully cover the issue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sen. Brandes’ SB 72 has caused the most controversy, as Senate Democrats don’t believe his bill does enough to punish negligent health-care providers such as assisted living facilities and nursing homes, rather removes them from any liability.
One of Brandes’ Democratic colleagues, Sen. Lauren Book (D- Plantation), told The Floridian that Brandes’ COVID healthcare bill was “ a little too broad” at the moment,” and that the way it was written, “would totally remove the liability” from nursing homes.
Sen. Book qualified her remark by pointed to the ongoing assisted living debacle that is occurring in New York with Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“There are nursing homes that put COVID-positive amongst non-COVID positive patients, didn’t follow CDC guidelines,” said Book. “ That bill would completely remove any responsibility that they had.”
Brandes, who wants potential plaintiffs to prove that whatever health care provider they are suing as a result of the pandemic, prove the defendant acted with “gross negligence,” responded to Book, telling The Floridian that “if a judge or court considers it grossly negligent, then it (facility) would not be covered under liability protection.”
Both of the Senate COVID Liability bills appear to be moving along and should see a full vote in the state Senate.