LANSING — The Michigan House of Representatives passed House Bill 5456 on Thursday, which, if signed into law, would make it much more difficult for people who contracted mesothelioma through contact with asbestos to file a claim through asbestos trust funds set up to pay for their care. In response, state Rep. Tom Cochran (D-Mason) issued the following statement:

“I’m extremely disappointed that the House has passed a bill that was written to do nothing other than stand between people who are suffering from a deadly form of cancer and the trust funds set up to provide for their care. In Michigan, many of the people who contact mesothelioma are first responders or veterans — the very people who put their lives on the line to keep us safe. During my time as a firefighter and fire chief, I saw many of my brothers and sisters risk everything just to protect their neighbors. Some of them get sick from that work years later, and instead of making sure they get the care they need, this bill kicks them to the curb. I can’t stand for laws that rig the rules against decent, hardworking people like that, which is why I voted against this bill.”