On Thursday, NJBIA testified in support of legislation that would grant immunity from liability to institutions of higher education and certain employees for damages resulting from COVID-19.
But in speaking before the Assembly Higher Education Committee, NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Ray Cantor also sought amendments to bill A-4408 to broaden its reach to businesses, nonprofits, proprietary colleges and K-12 institutions which follow all federal and state safety guidelines.
“We are not asking for blanket immunity and we’re not looking to protect bad actors,” Cantor told the committee. “We’re looking to make sure that everyone who follows the applicable guidance that’s out there has the same necessary liability protections to prevent them from being the victim of opportunistic lawsuits from those who are just looking for a deep pocket.”
Supporting safe harbor protections for businesses adhering to safety guidelines has been a priority for NJBIA throughout the pandemic.
In August, NJBIA sent a letter to New Jersey’s federal delegation urging that a “safe harbor protection in law can actually incentivize businesses to be sure to follow the safety guidance.”
“If left without these protections, without a safe harbor in place, it’s going to prevent many institutions from opening or opening fully and it’s going to result in a loss of jobs, opportunities and tax revenue,” Cantor added.
The Assembly Higher Education Committee did not hold a vote on the bill since it was only on the agenda for discussion.