By Bob Katzen

A bill proposed prohibits retail food stores from accepting the bulk return of any groceries and other household goods purchased by a consumer during, and for 30 days following, a declared state of emergency resulting from a pandemic or other public health emergency. Violators would be fined $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second offense and $1,000 for a third or subsequent offense.
“I am sponsoring the bill simply because we have too many people affected by hoarding items that should be available to the public especially in a time of crisis,” said Rep. Al Silvia (D-Fall River), the sponsor of the bill. “There is no reason people shouldn’t be able to purchase items, such as hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes, when we need them the most.”
COLLEGES WILL NOT BE HELD LIABLE (S 2644) – Grants indemnity from lawsuits to public and private colleges as a result of any act or omission by the institution when it develops, manufactures, tests or distributes personal protective equipment (PPE) in response to COVID-19, unless the act or omission constitutes willful, wanton or reckless conduct.
“Quite simply, we are in a situation where we need all hands-on deck,” said the bill’s sponsor Sen. Walter Timilty (D-Milton). “The state has been asking companies that are able to repurpose their manufacturing processes to help with the emergency demand of PPE. Here in the commonwealth, we have some of the best colleges and universities around that are able to help, but currently cannot. This bill will remove that hurdle.” Timilty also praised Wentworth Institute for their willingness to help.
“When the COVID-19 pandemic began to unfold, faculty and staff immediately sought opportunities to help medical professionals in their fight against the virus but there were no legal protections that permitted Wentworth to move forward,” said Wentworth President Mark Thompson. He noted that the bill will provide Wentworth and other universities with the ability to engage in meaningful ways in the effort to provide critical PPE to those on the front line.

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