The House Commerce Committee voted without dissent Tuesday to expand existing immunity from Mardi Gras-related civil lawsuits to include float builders and other service providers to krewes.

Current law protects krewes or other parading organizations and their members from any civil actions arising from any loss or injury suffered during a parade except in cases of a “wanton act or gross negligence” or in cases where the defendant was driving a motor vehicle during the parade. House Bill 902 by Rep. Jeff Arnold, D-Algiers, would add “any service provider” of the krewes to the list of protected individuals and businesses.

Arnold said he may amend the bill on the House floor to make it clear that a float builder could still be sued for “gross negligence,” though that standard puts a high burden of proof on a plaintiff.

“We just don’t want somebody who gets hit in the face with beads to be able to look down the list and say, ‘Oh, I’ll sue the float builder,'” Arnold said. “They really should have been included when we first passed” the Mardi Gras immunity law.