After the bill was passed by Iowa’s Senate March 8, it headed Tuesday to the State House, where it passed 56-39. Now, it is headed Tuesday to Gov. Terry Branstand for his signature. The bill, Senate File 376, cleared both chambers without a single Democratic vote cast in its favor.
As MyMeso previously reported, the bill — if signed by the governor — would require plaintiffs to meet deadlines, including for the disposition of each asbestos trust claim and a host of other information, within 90 days of filing an asbestos claim. Cases would be dismissed for noncompliance. The Courier reports the bill is like laws in eight states and includes components of laws in 26 states, according to its floor manager, Rep. Andy McKean, R-Anamosa.
Opponents of the bill contended its main purpose is to make it more difficult for victims of a deadly disease to receive compensation and say it is almost identical to model legislation proposed by the American Legislative Exchange Council.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 2,000 Iowans have died from asbestos exposure since 1999. Asbestos, a known human carcinogen, was once used in a host of products, including construction materials. Now, it is banned in more than 50 countries because exposure is linked to the development of deadly mesothelioma cancer, which affects the lining of the heart, lungs or abdomen. After diagnosis, mesothelioma patients rarely live more than two years. The disease is completely preventable, and many are unknowingly exposed while at work.