Asbestos compensation bill to reach Senate floor in February: Specter

[JURIST] US Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official website] said Tuesday that a Senate floor debate on a proposed bill to compensate asbestos [JURIST news archive; EPA backgrounder] victims will begin February 6. Specter has co-sponsored the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act of 2005 [bill summary] with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [official website] to develop a $140 billion fund [JURIST report] to pay claims brought by victims exposed to the disease-causing mineral, in lieu of litigation. If approved, the fund will be financed by defendant companies and insurers. The bill has been criticized by small and medium-sized companies who say that they will be expected to pay too much into the fund while larger companies will benefit by receiving breaks from asbestos liabilities. Reuters has more.

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