BOSTON – State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) announces that the Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed the “Good Samaritan Bill” this morning to ensure off-duty first responders who provide emergency care are not subject to lawsuits for helping those in need. The Senate voted in favor of the bill 37-0.
“As we watched tragedy unfold in Boston last month, we saw brave and dedicated off-duty first responders jump into action in an emergency situation,” said Downing. “Passage of this legislation will make sure that their heroism does not result in future legal action.”
“The Good Samaritan Laws do not currently apply to off-duty first responders whose professional responsibilities include providing emergency medical care,” explained Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth). “On Marathon Monday, many off-duty firefighters and emergency medical technicians came to the immediate aid of the hundreds of people impacted by the blasts and, as good Samaritans, they should be provided with the same legal protections.”
Lead sponsor of the bill, Senator Jim Timilty (D-Walpole) said, “Just a few weeks ago we were all reminded that there are a select few among us who run towards the blasts looking to help. We are very proud as a Commonwealth to do everything we can to help protect and honor our men and women in uniform but currently there is very little protection for their brave and instinctual actions when they are in their daily lives and out of uniform. This legislation not only seeks to protect those who risked their lives to help on Marathon Monday, but the everyday occurrences of an accident on the side of the road or a child injured on the ball field. We should do everything in our power to ensure that those with the adequate training to help do not hesitate out of fear of a lawsuit.” Senator Timilty serves as chair of the Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee.
This bill will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.