House GOP ‘Good Samaritan’ Measure Passes Judiciary Committee

HARTFORD— House Republican Leader Larry Cafero today hailed the Judiciary Committee’s passage of a House Republican proposal to provide immunity from civil damages to municipalities and nonprofit organizations that establish temporary emergency shelters when a civil preparedness emergency is declared by the governor.

Cafero said the GOP proposal, HB 5506, would provide legal protection to volunteers who stand up to help their communities during trying disasters.

When Connecticut was hit with two significant record-breaking storms last year -Tropical Storm Irene followed by an October Nor’easter – Connecticut’s emergency response systems were taxed as residents were without electricity and basic necessities for several days.

Volunteerism and community spirit helped Connecticut rise to the challenge and get through the difficulties offered by each storm. The overall response was a credit to our first responders and community volunteers.

“Unfortunately, during each storm the emergency shelters turned away people with minor medical conditions,” said Rep. Cafero. “Some were using mobility devices, respiratory equipment, or devices that required battery operation. They were sent to emergency rooms by the shelters – not because there was a lack of resources to assist- but because the volunteers at the shelters did not want to be exposed to lawsuits. This bill will remove that impediment, so volunteers can offer sanctuary and aid to their neighbors without fear of legal consequences should something go wrong.”

The bill passed the Judiciary Committee unanimously, and will now head to the floor of the House of Representatives for action there.

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