The Senate Civil Justice Committee took Sponsor Testimony April 18 regarding AIA Ohio’s “Good Samaritan” Bill, HB 17.  The bill would provide civil immunity for architects who are providing volunteer services during a declared emergency. 

The sponsors said the measure was brought to them by the Ohio Chapter of the American Institute of Architects whose members have expressed a desire to help out during declared emergencies but currently have no immunity when working in a volunteer capacity. Rep. Landis said there currently is not civil immunity for engineers, architects and surveyors so volunteering “It’s not a leap in logic to assume that few, if any, of these people would risk their eight years of investment in their profession – the amount of time it takes to become a registered engineer, survey or architect in Ohio – for volunteer work. While altruism should be applauded, it should not be expected,” he said.

Rep. Blessing explained that In order to be eligible for the immunity, the emergency must be officially declared a national, state or local emergency and services must be uncompensated and requested by someone working in an official capacity such as law enforcement or the governor. He added that at no point is there any immunity from wanton, willful or intentional misconduct.

“During a declared emergency, we want our A Team in the game, not sitting on the sidelines,” Rep. Landis said in support of the bill.