House Set To Pass Bills On Pandemic Scams, Liability

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Tallahassee, FL - Bills that would crack down on COVID-19 scammers and shield businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits appear likely to be the first measures passed during the 2021 legislative session.

The House is scheduled to take up bills on those issues during a floor session Thursday. One of the bills (HB 9), sponsored by Rep. Ardian Zika, R-Land O’ Lakes, stems from people using authentic-looking websites to run scams that purportedly offer access to COVID-19 vaccines or personal protective equipment.

The bill, a priority of House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, would lead to felony charges for people who run the scams and would authorize the attorney general to seek injunctions to shut down websites or other platforms that are used to spread fraudulent information.

The other bill (HB 7), sponsored by Rep. Lawrence McClure, R-Dover, would help protect businesses from lawsuits related to deaths or injuries caused by COVID-19. The bill has heavy backing from Republican legislative leaders and business groups. The 60-day legislative session started Tuesday.

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