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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2580        FILED ON: 1/17/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1965


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



Sean Garballey


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relating to liability protection for disaster volunteers.






Sean Garballey

23rd Middlesex

Sarah K. Peake

4th Barnstable

Jason M. Lewis

Fifth Middlesex

Mary S. Keefe

15th Worcester

Carolyn C. Dykema

8th Middlesex

Denise Andrews

2nd Franklin

Denise C. Garlick

13th Norfolk

Kay Khan

11th Middlesex

HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2580        FILED ON: 1/17/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1965

By Mr. Garballey of Arlington, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 1965) of Sean Garballey and others relative to liability protection for disaster volunteers.  Public Health. 


SEE HOUSE, NO. 593 OF 2011-2012.]


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen



An Act relating to liability protection for disaster volunteers.


              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

              SECTION 1. Chapter 112 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section: -

              Section 12C ½:-

              Whereas licensed registered nurses are critical, necessary volunteers in disasters and emergencies occurring in the Commonwealth, in order to provide for community need, as volunteers they require protection from  the Commonwealth for licensure board discipline; for civil and/or criminal liability and/or prosecution for injury or harm caused to a patient cared for while serving as a volunteer; and for  protection from injury or harm he/she personally suffers during the course or as a result of his/her volunteer service.;

              Section 12 C ½  (a) Definitions

              12 C 1/2 (a)   As used in this section, the following words, shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:-

              “Disaster”, an emergency detrimental to the public health declared by the governor of the commonwealth of Massachusetts under section 2A of Ch 17; a state of emergency declared by the governor under chapter 639 of the Acts of 1950 (“Civil Defense Act”); and/or a public health incident where local public health authorities have issued a request for volunteers because local resources have been or are expected to be exhausted or are insufficient.

              “Patient'', an individual who receives health services from a licensed registered nurse during a declared disaster or emergency.

              “Volunteer”, a licensed registered nurse in good standing who volunteers his/her services in a disaster or emergency without compensation or expectation of payment.

              Section 12 C ½ (b)  Exemption from licensure discipline and civil and criminal liability

              12 C ½ (b) The following persons and entities are not subject to licensure board discipline under section 74 to 81C  of chapter 112 of the general Laws, or to civil or criminal liability or prosecution for any injury or harm that results from any act or omission that does not amount to criminal negligence:

              1. A registered nurse licensed in the commonwealth of Massachusetts with no encumbrance on his/her license who provides oversight or direct care to patients who are victims of a disaster or emergency declared by the governor of the commonwealth of Massachusetts or local public health authorities.

              Section 12 C ½ (c) Volunteer protection from harm

              12 C ½ (c)  A volunteer as defined in 12 C ½ (a) who sustains injury, disability or who dies while serving as a volunteer shall be construed to be an employee of the commonwealth and shall be compensated in like manner as state employees are compensated under the provisions of sections 69 through 75 of chapter 152 of the General Laws.

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