SANTA FE ― The House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to protect volunteers from personal liability when they are performing services for nonprofit organizations.
House Bill 224 is sponsored by Reps. Yvette Herrell (R-Otero) and Bob Wooley (R-Chaves, Lea & Roosevelt).
The provisions of the legislation would cover properly trained volunteers acting in good faith and within the scope of their assigned duties. The legislation would only apply to individuals who are not compensated for their services, and it would not exempt board members or any other person with a fiduciary responsibility to the nonprofit organization from liability.
“New Mexico is one of a handful of states that do not have some sort of law on the books to protect volunteers from personal liability. Nonprofit organizations have a hard enough time finding volunteers as it is. We want to make sure that people are not punished for trying to serve their communities,” Herrell said.
“Nonprofits rely on volunteers to provide valuable services like delivering meals to home-bound people. We should not be placing these charitable people at risk for a lawsuit if they chose to donate their time and effort to a worthy cause,” Wooley said. “New Mexico’s veterans will especially benefit from this bill. Our rural veterans depend on volunteer drivers to take them to and from medical appointments at the VA hospital in Albuquerque, and this bill will help us recruit more drivers for this effort.”
House Bill 224 now moves to the Senate for consideration.