Florida Senate - 2021                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 72
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              

       The Committee on Rules (Book) recommended the following:
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete everything after the enacting clause
    4  and insert:
    5         Section 1. Section 768.38, Florida Statutes, is created to
    6  read:
    7         768.38 Immunity for educational institutions for actions
    8  related to the COVID-19 pandemic.—
    9         (1)For the purposes of this section, the term “educational
   10  institution” means a school, including a preschool, an
   11  elementary school, a middle school, a junior high school, a
   12  secondary school, a career center, or a postsecondary school,
   13  whether public or nonpublic.
   14         (2)Any educational institution that has taken reasonably
   15  necessary actions in compliance with federal, state, or local
   16  guidance to diminish the impact or the spread of COVID-19 may
   17  not be held liable for, and shall be immune from, any civil
   18  damages, equitable relief, or other remedies relating to such
   19  actions. Reasonably necessary actions include, but are not
   20  limited to, any of the following:
   21         (a)Shifting in-person instruction to online or remote
   22  instruction for any period of time while a state of emergency
   23  was declared for this state for the COVID-19 pandemic;
   24         (b)Closing or modifying the provision of residential
   25  housing, dining, or other facilities on the campus of the
   26  educational institution; or
   27         (c)Pausing or modifying ancillary student activities and
   28  services available through the educational institution while a
   29  state of emergency was declared for this state for the COVID-19
   30  pandemic.
   31         (3)The provision of in-person or on-campus education and
   32  related services is deemed to have been impossible for
   33  educational institutions to provide for any period of time in
   34  which such institutions took reasonably necessary actions
   35  described in subsection (2) to protect students, staff, and
   36  educators in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of
   37  the various governmental orders and the need of educational
   38  institutions to protect their communities, the reasonably
   39  necessary actions described in subsection (2) are deemed to have
   40  been justified.
   41         (4)If any aspect of the immunity under subsection (2) is
   42  limited by a court or by operation of law from applying to
   43  certain types of claims or causes of action, the immunity under
   44  this section must still be provided to the fullest extent
   45  authorized by law to any other types of claims or causes of
   46  action.
   47         Section 2. If any provision of this act or its application
   48  to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity
   49  does not affect other provisions or applications of the act
   50  which can be given effect without the invalid provision or
   51  application, and to this end the provisions of this act are
   52  severable.
   53         Section 3. This act shall apply retroactively to causes of
   54  actions accruing on or before March 9, 2020.
   55         Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.
   57  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
   58  And the title is amended as follows:
   59         Delete everything before the enacting clause
   60  and insert:
   61                        A bill to be entitled                      
   62         An act relating to civil liability for damages
   63         relating to COVID-19; creating s. 768.38, F.S.;
   64         defining the term “educational institution”; providing
   65         that educational institutions that have taken certain
   66         actions may not be held liable for and are immune from
   67         civil damages, equitable relief, or other remedies;
   68         specifying that the provision of in-person or on
   69         campus education and related services is deemed
   70         impossible during a specified timeframe; specifying
   71         that certain actions are deemed to have been
   72         justified; providing construction; providing
   73         severability; providing retroactive applicability;
   74         providing an effective date.
   76         WHEREAS, on March 9, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis issued
   77  Executive Order Number 20-52 declaring a state of emergency for
   78  the State of Florida due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and
   79         WHEREAS, in light of the ongoing nature of the COVID-19
   80  pandemic, the Governor has repeatedly extended the state of
   81  emergency, including most recently on February 26, 2021, in
   82  Executive Order Number 21-45, and
   83         WHEREAS, the State of Florida continues under a declared
   84  state of emergency, and
   85         WHEREAS, educational institutions have been required to
   86  take actions to protect students, educators, and staff on their
   87  campuses beginning in March 2020, and
   88         WHEREAS, those actions included closing campuses to in
   89  person instruction, closing residential and student activity
   90  facilities, and closing or modifying other on-campus facilities
   91  and services, NOW, THEREFORE,