DeSantis receives the COVID protections bill and signs the emergency fund into law
The House and Senate moved quickly to pass the measure to extend COVID legal protections for hospitals, nursing homes and other providers. DeSantis will have until Feb. 24 to act on the bill.
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed two bills and received nine others, including a measure that would extend COVID-19 legal protections for hospitals and other health care providers.
Meantime, the state Senate unanimously passed a nearly $109 billion spending plan with virtually no debate the day after the House passed a $105 billion plan after two hours of contentious debate. The two sides have until March 8 to agree on a budget if they want to finish the 60-day session on time.
The House and Senate moved quickly during the session to pass the measure (SB 7014) to extend COVID legal protections for hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers. DeSantis will have until Feb. 24 to act on the bill.
The Legislature approved legal protections last year, but they are set to expire March 29. The bill, if signed by DeSantis, would extend the protections to June 1, 2023. The bill addresses lawsuits involving issues such as transmission of COVID-19 and treatment of people with COVID-19.
DeSantis signed measures that would provide $500 million he can spend during declared emergencies.
The bills (SB 96 and SB 98) to create the “Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund” were the first measures signed from this year’s legislative session, with the fund becoming available immediately.
DeSantis vetoed a similar proposal last year after questions were raised about seeding the fund with federal stimulus dollars. This year’s version called for using state general revenue.
Information from News Service of Florida and the Associated Press was used in this report.