CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has signed a bill that protects employers, health care providers and others from being sued due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The bill offers protection from COVID-19 lawsuits even if public health guidelines were ignored. But suits could be filed if there is evidence a person or entity acted with intent to hurt, kill or cause other damage.

The state Senate passed the bill on Feb. 19 and the House concurred on March 10. Some Democrats argued the bill’s protections are too broad.

Justice had proposed the legislation, called the “Creating COVID-19 Jobs Protection Act.”

Several lawsuits already filed had targeted measures Justice put in place through executive orders.

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