Great News Out of Pennsylvania

13 Jan 2022 7:41 AM | Smart About Salt (Administrator)

By a unanimous vote of 201-0, the Pennsylvania House or Representatives has forwarded the ASCA’s Model Legislation, the Snow Removal Limited Liability Act, House Bill 1665, on to the state senate where it has been assigned to the Judiciary Committee.

This is a huge step for this important legislation, said Pa. State Representative Chris Quinn, the bill’s sponsor. “These unfair clauses are often used by many big box retail chains to force small business owners (snow contractors) to assume liability, which should be borne by the property owner.”

Most snow removal contractors are not required to remove snow until there are 2 inches of snowfall. This “trigger” varies. Standard hold-harmless provisions, typically used by larger retail chains, force contractors to assume liability even though they are under no contractual obligation to remove snow and may not even have been on the premises.

“These unfair contracts shift responsibility for damages which should be borne by the property owner,” added Quinn. “Because this unfair language often pits the client and contractor against each other, insurance carriers are forced to charge smaller contractors for two separate defense lawyers.

“Exponentially increased liability insurance rates are the net effect of these hold-harmless agreements on small business owners who are most typically proprietors of snow removal businesses. The increased cost of doing business for these small business owners is ultimately passed on to the customer, which is bad for all Pennsylvanians,” he said.

ASCA Executive Director Kevin Gilbride added, “The ASCA and Pennsylvania members have been working diligently for a number of years to get this legislation passed.  We are excited about this huge accomplishment and expect things move more quickly with the dominant vote the bill received in the house.”

Gilbride encourages all Pennsylvania contractors to reach out their Senator ASAP and put their support behind the bill.  

Pennsylvania snow and ice professionals can locate their state senator HERE

Once on their page, click the white envelope under their picture to send them an email. Then copy and paste this message:

House Bill 1665 just passes the state’s House of Representatives with a vote of 201-0.  This legislation will go a long way in making Pennsylvania safer for its citizens in the winter.  It will also benefit snow and ice management companies in reigning in skyrocketing insurance rates.  This legislation does not eliminate liability for snow and ice management companies, it simply places liability where it should be.  Professional snow and ice management companies are still liable if they do a poor job.  They are just not liable when they are not contractually obligated to service a property.  Please support this bill when it is presented in the Senate.

The ASCA will continue to push hard to get this legislation passed soon.

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