Asbestos Bill Won’t Pass This Year, Sen. Frist Admits

Asbestos Bill S.B. 1125 Dead in Water

WASHINGTON, D.C.-November 25, 2003-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) said that he will not force a vote on the Hatch asbestos bill, S.B. 1125, this year, according to news sources (Washington Post, November 23, 2003). Instead, he believes that an agreement can be worked out so that the bill will come before the Senate in March. "I have made it a personal priority that the Senate resolve this issue," Sen. Frist said (Wall Street Journal, November 24, 2003).

Victims of Asbestos Disease Would Lose Under S.B. 1125

In its current form, S.B. 1125 would provide a $114 billion trust fund for asbestos victims. It would set compensation levels for various asbestos disease categories, yet deny asbestos victims their day in court. Organized labor, many Democratic leaders, and consumer groups have called both the funding and claims levels inadequate. They have also expressed concern that the bill is a bail-out for asbestos companies and their insurers, who stand to pay out much less than their current liabilities to asbestos disease patients and their families. The American Insurance Association has spent about $1.02 million on lobbying for passage of the asbestos bill (Rollcall, November 10, 2003). The Asbestos Study Group, an asbestos industry organization, reported spending $5.56 million in the first half of 2003 to support the measure (Engineering News, November 11, 2003).

At Brayton Purcell, we have fought long and hard against S.B. 1125, which is harmful to our clients and to other asbestos disease sufferers. We will continue to fight against any similar asbestos bill and to keep you informed about new legislative developments. If you would like information about asbestos disease and your current legal rights, please feel free to contact us. Since 1984 we have been successfully handling asbestos case