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A bill extending COVID protections for health providers is ready for the House floor

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The House Judiciary Committee voted 15-5 to approve the proposal, which would provide legal protections through June 1, 2023. An identical version of the bill has already been passed by the Senate.

With the Senate already passing the measure, the Florida House could be poised to take up a proposal that would extend COVID-19 legal protections for hospitals, nursing homes and other health-care providers.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 15-5 on Wednesday to approve its version of the bill (HB 7021), sponsored by Health & Human Services Chairwoman Colleen Burton, R-Lakeland.

The measure is now ready to go to the full House.

The legal protections were approved during last year’s legislative session but are set to expire March 29 unless they are extended. They address lawsuits involving issues such as transmission of COVID-19 and treatment of people with COVID-19.

The proposal would extend the protections until June 1, 2023.

The protections, for example, require a higher standard of proof for plaintiffs. In such cases, plaintiffs have to prove “by the greater weight of the evidence that the health care provider was grossly negligent or engaged in intentional misconduct.”

The Senate last week voted 22-13 along nearly straight party lines to pass a bill (SB 7014) that is identical to the House version.