Bill Text

Bill Information


PDF |Add To My Favorites |Track Bill | print page

AB-1384 Local educational agencies: liability for COVID-19-related injuries.(2019-2020)

SHARE THIS:share this bill in Facebookshare this bill in Twitter
Date Published: 07/29/2020 09:00 PM
AB1384:v94#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  July 29, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  July 02, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  June 29, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  May 28, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 25, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1384


Introduced by Assembly Member O’Donnell
(Principal coauthor: Senator Rubio)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Boerner Horvath, Daly, Cunningham, Daly, Fong, Grayson, Irwin, Low, Quirk-Silva, Blanca Rubio, and Smith)
(Coauthors: Senators Allen, Borgeas, Dodd, and Hill)

February 22, 2019


An act to add Article 3 (commencing with Section 32315) to Chapter 3 of Part 19 of Division 1 of Title 1 of the Education Code, relating to local educational agencies.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1384, as amended, O’Donnell. Local educational agencies: liability for COVID-19-related injuries.
Existing law establishes a system of public elementary and secondary schools in the state, and authorizes local educational agencies throughout the state to operate schools and provide instruction to pupils in kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive.
Existing law provides that no monetary liability and no cause of action arises against specified entities for certain conduct, including, except for specified damages, for a hospital for any action taken upon the recommendation of its medical staff, or against any other person or organization for any action taken, or restriction imposed, which is required to be reported, if that action or restriction is reported, as specified.
This bill would require require, during the COVID-19 pandemic, as defined, the governing board of a local educational agency, as defined, or its designee, to establish health and safety policies and procedures for operating programs and facilities in a manner consistent with applicable federal, state, and local legal and regulatory COVID-19-related requirements and that takes into consideration COVID-19-related guidelines from federal, state, and local government entities and public health agencies. The published by the State Department of Public Health. The bill would require the governing boards of local educational agencies, or their designees, to ensure that reasonable efforts are undertaken to implement those policies and procedures.
The bill would exempt a local educational agency, and its officers or employees, that meet these requirements from monetary liability and damages for injury relating to COVID-19 infection, transmission, or specified policies and procedures established pursuant to the bill, any condition in existence because of the COVID-19 pandemic, or any act or omission by the local educational agency, its officers, or its employees in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as provided, with specified exceptions.
By imposing new duties on local educational agencies, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) All of California’s public school pupils deserve and need safe and supportive school environments in which to learn.
(b) The COVID-19 pandemic has required significant changes impacting public schools throughout the state and nationwide, including the temporary closings of school facilities to limit contact and achieve social distancing.
(c) Because of the uncertainty and fluidity of the COVID-19 pandemic and response thereto, federal, state, county, and local regulations and orders and public health guidelines have changed and developed over time.
(d) Creating safe learning environments in a manner that gives due consideration to current COVID-19 regulations, orders, and guidelines is critical for our the state and its residents.
(e) Subjecting public schools to costly litigation and liability exposure by reopening and operating during the COVID-19 pandemic would divert scarce public resources from providing pupils with educational instruction, meals, and other essential resources.

SEC. 2.

 Article 3 (commencing with Section 32315) is added to Chapter 3 of Part 19 of Division 1 of Title 1 of the Education Code, to read:
Article  3. Liability for COVID-19-Related Injuries

32315.
 (a) As used in this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) “COVID-19 pandemic” means refers to the time period during which a state or local declaration of emergency exists related to the outbreak and spread of a respiratory illness that is the illness commonly referred to as COVID-19, and that is the subject of Governor Gavin Newsom’s Proclamation of a State of Emergency on March 4, 2020, for as long as the state of emergency remains in effect, or for the duration of any subsequent state of emergency relating to COVID-19 that is proclaimed. COVID-19.
(2) “Local educational agency” means a school district, a county office of education, a school operated by a school district or a county office of education, joint powers authority consisting entirely of school districts and county offices of education, a charter school, the California Schools for the Deaf, or the California School for the Blind.
(b) (1) During the COVID-19 pandemic, a governing board of a local educational agency, or its designee, shall establish health and safety policies and procedures for operating programs and facilities in a manner consistent with applicable federal, state, and local legal and regulatory COVID-19-related requirements and that takes into consideration COVID-19-related guidelines from federal, state, and local government entities and public health agencies. published by the State Department of Public Health.
(2) The governing board of a local educational agency, or its designee, shall ensure that reasonable efforts are undertaken to implement the policies and procedures referenced in paragraph (1) and to update them as needed.
(c) (1) There shall be no monetary liability on the part of, and no cause of action for damage shall arise against, a local educational agency, or its officers or employees, that meets the requirements of subdivision (b) for injury relating to COVID-19 infection, any condition in existence because of the COVID-19 pandemic, or any act or omission by the local educational agency, its officers, or its employees in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, transmission, or the policies and procedures established pursuant to subdivision (b), including, but not limited to, claims for injury, injury or death,emotional distress, economic loss, or violation of civil liberties, notwithstanding any law that might impose that liability, including, but not limited to, any provision contained in Division 3.6 (commencing with Section 810) of Title 1 of the Government Code, and Section 1708 of, and subdivision (a) of Section 1714 of, the Civil Code.
(2) This subdivision shall apply to a cause of action for injury alleged to have been sustained during the COVID-19 pandemic or during the 12 months following the end of any state of emergency relating to COVID-19. pandemic.
(3) This subdivision shall not apply to employee claims for injuries sustained in the course and scope of employment pursuant to Division 4 (commencing with Section 3200) of the Labor Code.
(4) Except as otherwise expressly stated in this subdivision, this subdivision shall not apply to a local educational agency’s existing statutory duties to employees with respect to workplace protections, including, but not limited to, the Educational Employment Relations Act (Chapter 10.7 (commencing with Section 3540) of Division 4 of Title 1 of the Government Code), workplace safety, disability and family leave, or employment discrimination.

(4)The liability protections afforded under this

(5) This subdivision do shall not apply to claims for money or damages for gross negligence or for reckless, intentional, or willful and wanton misconduct. misconduct, to the extent that those claims are permitted under the law existing at the time the claim is made.
(6) Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to limit the scope of immunities available under any other law.

SEC. 3.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.