Tuesday, February 05, 2013

HB 2485 provides cover to companies violating health and safety regulations

HB 2485 provides cover to companies violating health and safety regulations
Gallego: ‘This bill threatens the health and safety of all Arizonans’

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Wednesday morning the Public Safety, Military and Regulatory Affairs Committee plans to hear a bill that would provide immunity to some companies violating health and safety regulations.

“This bill is basically the Polluter Protection Act, part II,” Assistant House Minority Leader Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix (District 27), said. “HB 2485 would give immunity to almost any business violating health and safety regulations, as long as that business is conducting internal audits, which can be kept secret. This bill threatens the health and safety of all Arizonans.”

HB 2485 would allow internal audits of health and safety laws to be kept secret.  It would also prevent information found in those audits from being used in legal or administrative proceedings. This bill would make laws protecting health and safety unenforceable and would give companies violating the laws immunity as long as the companies are conducting internal audits.

“We expect there to be a lot of opposition to this bill,” Gallego, the ranking member of the PSMRA committee, said. “Bills like this essentially make consumer protection regulations unenforceable. That has not worked out well for the public in the past. Do we really want nuclear power plants conducting secret safety audits? Self-policing too often leads to companies hiding severe health and safety violations and concerns.

"The tobacco companies conducted secret, internal audits that showed cigarettes are dangerous and chose never to tell anyone. That's an extreme example of a company hiding information.  It is not in the best interest of Arizona consumers to shackle the ability of regulators to protect our health and safety."

The committee meets at 9 a.m. on Feb. 6 in House Hearing Room 3.  A summary of the bill is available here.

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