[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 asbestos 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.
Previously in JURIST's Paper Chase...
- Frist promises action on asbestos legislation in January
- Judiciary committee authorizes asbestos subpoena power
- Specter calls for Senate vote on asbestos bill in October
- No date set for asbestos bill to reach Senate floor
- Senate panel backs asbestos fund bill
- Work on asbestos compensation bill slowed by Senate judges battle