LANSING — Earlier today House Bill 5456 — which would make it more difficult for those suffering from asbestos-related diseases to file claims against the corporations that poisoned them — passed out of the House Michigan Competitiveness Committee on a party-line vote. In response, state Rep. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor), House Democratic Vice Chair of the committee, issued the following statement:

“This is one of the most inhumane pieces of legislation I have seen in a long time. It was pushed by people that often claim to be on the side of veterans and first responders, but House Bill 5456 is precisely the opposite. Today in committee I offered a common-sense amendment to implement a system that has worked for over 25 years. That system was initiated by the Wayne County Court that handles the most asbestos claims in the state, and attorneys on both sides have said that this process works. If the aim was truly to streamline the asbestos claims system, my amendment would have been supported. Clearly the purpose of HB 5456 is to make it as difficult as possible for people poisoned by a corporation to hold that corporation accountable, and that is unconscionable. This legislation would create a bigger problem for people on borrowed time already.”