Asbestos law gets no scrutiny and passes quickly

By The Madison County Record | Dec 11, 2014

“So, what's the rush?”

That's a sensible response when someone tries to persuade you to make an important decision without giving sufficient consideration to the implications and possible effects of that decision.

A sense of urgency is appropriate in an emergency or in anticipation of an impending disaster, but it ought not to influence the purchase of a car, a condo, or the latest kitchen gadget promoted by a telemarketer.

An unscrupulous salesman may be eager to close a deal before the intended victim has much time to think about it, but it's in the buyer's best interest to slow down the process and ponder the wisdom of the decision without haste.

Likewise with legislation.

Every proposed law should be clearly written, carefully studied, and thoroughly debated before a vote. It should be considered on its merits and not be bundled with a multitude of other, unrelated proposals.

It is very rarely better to have a bad bill than no bill at all.

Any legislator trying to rush a law through to passage without sufficient deliberation should be assumed to have nefarious motives because that person almost certainly does.

A case in point is our state legislature's recent passage of a bill that lifts a 10-year statute of repose for the filing of asbestos litigation. Amendments to SB 2221 passed along party lines just one week after introduction.

Outgoing Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn is likely to sign the bill, unlike incoming Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner – hence the urgency.

Does it matter that the measure might exacerbate the backlog in Madison County's asbestos docket, create entirely new classes of defendants among contractors not previously subject to asbestos suits, discourage business start-ups and business relocations to our state, and ultimately be challenged in court and declared unconstitutional?

No, none of that matters to the trial lawyers who rushed it through -- and who expect to profit from the damage it does.

More News

The Record Network