Earlier this year, the Louisiana Legislature considered legislation aimed at cleaning up the asbestos legal mess in our state. While I applaud any attempt to solve the problem of runaway asbestos lawsuits, the bill, SB 398, would have done little to help Louisiana veterans who are sick from asbestos exposure that occurred during service to their country. Ultimately, the Legislature did not act on SB 398, and I thank our state lawmakers for not leaving Louisiana's veterans out in the cold.
The bill would have set up medical criteria that established who could file an asbestos lawsuit, but that doesn't solve the whole problem. Thousands of veterans who served from World War II through the Vietnam era were exposed to asbestos when they were in the armed forces. But because the federal government has asserted sovereign immunity, these veterans are barred from holding the federal government (their employer during their time in the military) liable for their exposure. So veterans must try to find and sue the companies that once supplied the government with asbestos -- most of which have gone belly up.
What's needed is a national victims' trust fund bill like the FAIR Act, which is being considered by the U.S. Senate. This would take asbestos claims out of the court system and provide fair compensation to all sick asbestos victims, veterans included. And like SB 398, the national trust fund would compensate only those victims who meet established medical criteria to ensure that the sickest get compensated first. Our nation's veterans deserve to be treated with fairness.
Past state commander, Louisiana Department of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Sulphur
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, certain federal agencies confiscated the firearms of Louisiana citizens. This violated the Second Amendment, deprived them of the right to bear arms, and rendered them helpless against criminal activities.
The Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act of 2006 (HR 5013 in the U.S. House and S2599 in the U.S. Senate) would prohibit such activities in the future. Federal agents could not seize any legal firearm or disarm anyone authorized to carry a firearm simply because they are operating in an emergency situation. It also would prevent would-be tyrants from opening a loophole in the Second Amendment by branding any situation an "emergency."