Voters back pro-jobs leadership, employers demand urgent action on COVID-19 lawsuits
Missouri voters have made their voices heard, selecting a strong pro-jobs majority to represent them in Jefferson City. Missourians elected Gov. Mike Parson, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and 42 of the 44 legislative candidates endorsed by the Missouri Chamber Political Action Committee. These leaders will face challenging circumstances in January as they are sworn into office and confronted with leading our state as we seek to rein in the COVID-19 pandemic and reimagine our economy.
“On behalf of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, I congratulate Gov. Mike Parson, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and our many pro-jobs legislators who won important victories in this critical election,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “I would like to especially thank Gov. Parson, who has long been a champion for Missouri and has won the opportunity to continue his service. His election comes as we are facing many challenges, yet we are confident that Gov. Parson has the leadership and vision Missouri needs as we seek to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and reimagine our economy.”
As Missouri moves past this election, the Missouri Chamber is asking Gov. Parson and our legislative leaders to urgently address one of the most pressing issues threatening our economic recovery: the rising wave of COVID-19 lawsuits. Since March, more than 1,000 COVID-19 lawsuits have been filed against employers across the nation. In response, many states — including all but one of Missouri’s neighboring states — have enacted some form of protection against lawsuits. Missouri has yet to take any action to stop opportunistic COVID-19 lawsuits.
Given this threat, Missouri cannot afford to wait until next year to act.
“We must do everything we can to help our businesses, schools and health care facilities safely open — and remain open — so our economy can recover,” Mehan said. “When these organizations follow public health guidelines, they should not have to face crippling COVID-19 lawsuits. Addressing this issue by urgently calling a special session is the best post-election action Gov. Parson can take to set our economy on stronger footing as we close out a challenging 2020 and look forward to the possibilities the next four years will bring under Gov. Parson’s leadership.”
Since April, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been leading the call for action on this issue. More than 750 businesses and individuals have joined the Missouri Chamber in asking for a special session on this topic. With the election now over, there is still time for our current lawmakers to protect our economic recovery by returning to Jefferson City immediately and passing a law so that businesses, schools and health facilities that follow public health guidelines are shielded from COVID-19 lawsuits.
“We cannot afford to wait until January to address this problem. COVID-19 lawsuits are being filed right now and Missouri employers remain needlessly exposed. This is an enormous concern for businesses, schools and health facilities across the state,” said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber. “This problem must be addressed if we want employers to confidently remain open and help power our economic recovery. Our lawmakers still have time in their current terms to address this issue. It would be a disservice to our state to postpone this action until 2021. We strongly urge Gov. Parson to call lawmakers back to Jefferson City as soon as possible to protect employers from opportunistic COVID-19 lawsuits.”