Bills to alter tobacco settlements achieve footing in process


A smoldering battle in the Florida Legislature over the manner in which four major tobacco companies will have to pay up to more than 4,000 claimants has taken an early step towards its climax: Bills by Sen. Garrett Richter and Rep. David Santiago have escaped the Session slush pile and been referred to committees in both chambers.

The proposal’s original version, Richter’s SB 978, will face just two committee stops: Judiciary and Rules. The House companion sponsored by Santiago will also forgo the standard three-committee gauntlet, going before Civil Justice and House Judiciary.

The pithy one-page legislation provides that tort liability shall not apply in “all civil actions in which judgment has not been entered, regardless of the date on which the cause of action arose.”

This legislative approach follows maneuvering in the courts, covered in a Florida Politics 2015 Session outlook, where the defendants sought to decertify a class of claimants on technical evidentiary grounds.

Ryan Ray

Ryan Ray covers politics and public policy in North Florida and across the state. He has also worked as a legislative researcher and political campaign staffer. He can be reached at [email protected].


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