“Anything that would slow a case down essentially would be a death sentence,” said Rick Nemeroff. “We were able to get this done really efficiently, which is the exact opposite of what the bill that is being proposed would do. It would be years and years before we would be able to get a case like Mr. Petersen’s filed and set for a jury trial and it’s almost an absolute certainty he would be dead before he got his day in court.”
Portions of Wilson’s bill are lifted from two pieces of model legislation promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a business-backed group of conservative lawmakers.
Similar legislation has been proposed in California, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Missouri, Indiana, New York and Tennessee, according to the Environmental Working Group, which has tracked asbestos legislation.
But Nemeroff says Wilson’s bill goes further than any of those other bills has gone.
“This specific bill that is being proposed in Utah is the most egregious that I’ve seen and it’s never been passed [in other states] in its current form,” Nemeroff said.
Wilson said he is willing to work on revisions to his bill if they’re needed. It is scheduled for a hearing before the House Business and Labor Committee Wednesday morning. Peterson said he plans to be there.
“I plan to fight as best I can for my fellow men who may come down with this disease. It’s a terrible disease. It works on you every day. There’s a lot of heartache with it. I can’t tell you how it works on you and your family,” Petersen said.