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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

 10:21 PM 

Asbestos claims bill also held until tomorrow

The Senate worked through all amendments on a bill that would put limits on civil claims for asbestos exposure before Dems blocked a final vote through a procedural move.

The bill, AB 19, would require those seeking a claim against a personal injury trust to notify all parties of their claims filed against the trust within 45 days and certain disclosures of proof of injury within 60 days of a claim filed against the trust.

Democrats highlighted testimony from veterans groups, who are disproportionately effected by asbestos exposure, opposing the bill.

"Every vets group oppose this bill because it's unfair to vets," said Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison. 

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald noted that he "hates" this bill, but said personal injury trial attorneys are exploiting the veterans groups. He said they're using the issue for their own personal gain and looking to hit any companies that might have had anything to do with asbestos. 

He added that he wouldn't do anything to hurt veterans, citing his own military service. However, he argued there has to be some measure to ensure the claims that go forward against those trusts are legitimate.

"But that's really what's kind of disgusting about this is the veterans organizations have been used as a shield so the trial attorneys could continue to run their 30-second ads fishing for claimants," Fitzgerald said. "This is not a nice bill, this is not anything we're going to go home and feel good about, I think it's just something that has to be done."


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