NFIB Leads Coalition Pushing Liability Reform

Date: January 25, 2021

NFIB is Urging Lawmakers to Pass Important COVID-19 liability reform.

NFIB, in conjunction with the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council – a group of 15 business associations that work together on civil liability matters, is working to educate Wisconsin lawmakers on the importance of COVID-19 liability reform.


Right now, the legislature is considering Assembly Bill 1 (AB 1), which includes liability protections for small business owners impacted by the pandemic. NFIB and the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council are urging lawmakers to support a compromise that includes liability protections, which has passed both the Assembly and Senate. Though the language passed by the two houses is slightly different, both would create reasonable protections for businesses, schools, nonprofits, and others from civil liability caused by an act or omission resulting in exposure to COVID-19.


Such protections would not apply if the entity engaged in reckless or wanton conduct or intentional misconduct. AB 1 would help ensure these entities are implementing protocols to protect public health and welfare by affording them protection from potentially bankruptcy-causing lawsuits. In short, AB 1 creates a strong incentive for these entities to take adequate precautions to keep their facilities safe.


Moreover, AB 1 would also give businesses a needed level of certainty that they will be protected from such liability and would help ensure Wisconsin businesses are comfortable reopening and staying open.


“NFIB is proud to be part of such a strong coalition. Our members have made it clear that these liability protections are a strong prioritiy for them. In fact, according to a recently poll of Wisconsin small business owners, 96% of our members want the legislature to take action and pass liability protections,” said Bill G. Smith, NFIB State Director in Wisconsin and President of the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council. The economic outlook for small business owners is not good. According to a recent survey of our members, sales expectations over the next three months declined 14 points and earning trends over the past three months declined 7 points. Small business owners need certainty right now as they recover from this devastating pandemic. Passing liability reform is the least lawmakers can do for Wisconsin’s struggling entrepreneurs.” 


The coalition is respectfully urging Governor Tony Evers, Assembly Robin Speaker Vos, and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu to get this done, and get these important liability protections signed into law.


You can find the entire letter from the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council here.

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