Last spring, Susan Vento, the wife of the late (and legitimately great) congressman Bruce Vento, alerted me to a particularly awful ALEC bill oozing its way through Congress — the horribly misnamed “Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency” (FACT) Act which is designed to force anyone suing an asbestos dumper to allow their most private information (including parts of their Social Security numbers) on the internet.

Palmer House ALEC Protest

The latest evil from ALEC.

The bill stalled out for a few months (otherwise you would have probably heard about it by now), but unfortunately it’s regained momentum and is set to move through the house as part of “tort reform” week.

How vile is this piece of garbage? Pop Tort has the deets:

The second bill to be voted on, H.R. 982, the so-called “Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act” (FACT Act), does two things: 1) it requires asbestos trusts to disclose on a public web site private, confidential information about every asbestos claimant and their families, including their names, addresses, where they work, how much they
make, some medical information, how much they received in compensation and the last four digits of their social security numbers; and 2) it allows any defendant in any asbestos lawsuit the right to demand any information about any asbestos victim from any asbestos trust at any time for any reason.

This was all too much for the New York Times editorial board.  In June, the ed board called the bill “misguided,” saying the bill was “rammed through the House Judiciary Committee” supposedly “to root out fraud and abuse” despite the lack of any “persuasive evidence” of this.  What the bill would do, said the Times, is “make it harder for plaintiffs injured by asbestos to get fair compensation.”

Go to www.cancervictimsrights.org for more information. A petition opposing the FACT Act is here.

Photo by Mikasi under a Creative Commons license.