Kansas lawmakers extend protections to businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits

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FILE – In this Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021 file photo, pharmacy technician Sochi Evans fills a syringe with a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Texas Southern University in Houston. Coronavirus cases are continuing to decline in the U.S. after a winter surge. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University say the seven-day average of new coronavirus cases in the country dropped below 100,000 on Friday, Feb. 12 for the first time since November 4. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP, File)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers moved Tuesday to extend protections for businesses from lawsuits over COVID-19, while a prominent critic of Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly said the state’s vaccine distribution has improved in recent weeks.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would give businesses an extra year of protection, until March 31, 2022, from lawsuits from customers or employees who contract COVID-19 if those businesses were “in substantial compliance” with public health orders.

The measure goes next to the Senate.

Meanwhile, Senate President Ty Masterson said lawmakers are getting fewer complaints about access to vaccines now than a few weeks ago, but, “You can only go up from the bottom.” 

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