State Rep. Andy Thomas looks over legislation he introduced to protect nonprofit organizations. Dorlene Woodrum (right), director of the Clay County Senior Citizens Center, testified on behalf of the bill.
State Representative Andy Thomas (R-Brazil) presented a bill before the House Judiciary Committee on Monday that would limit the liability of small nonprofit organizations that are classified under the 501(c)(3) tax exemption, to the liability limits in the Indiana tort claims act.
"I designed this bill to protect small nonprofit organizations with a yearly income of $500,000 or less to remove the fear or possibility that a single lawsuit will put them out of business," Rep. Thomas said. "It does not apply to health care providers or motor vehicle claims."
Dorlene Woodrum testified in support of House Bill 1367. She is the director of the Clay County Senior Citizens Center. Woodrum explained that more than 17 percent of the Center's income goes toward paying insurance each year.
"If we are going to ask non-profits to do the difficult work that the government cannot or should not do, they should be afforded the same protections under law that we provide to governmental entities," Rep. Thomas said. "These organizations provide valuable services that people both want and need, and it is essential that they are able to operate without the threat of frivolous lawsuits eating away at their already limited funds."
House Bill 1367 was passed on by the committee with a vote of 11-1. The bill was amended to include a summer study committee to further investigate the issue.