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Georgia Reporter’s Hidden Camera Finds FACT Act Supporter American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is Anything but “Transparent”


The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a secretive “charity” that is run and funded by large corporations that subsidize the involvement of state lawmakers. New insights from news reporter Brandon Keefe, who attempted to attend ALEC’s spring meeting, shows the organization’s complete lack of transparency – which is contrary to the reasoning behind many of its bills. Keefe was eventually kicked out of the meeting, and the police were called to ensure he stayed out.

Prior to being kicked out, however, Keefe’s conversations with lobbyists and legislators revealed that the lobbyists’ fees to attend ALEC events actually help subsidize legislators. Despite this admission to Keefe (recorded on his hidden camera) and ALEC’s claims of “transparency”, the organization later denied to Keefe that ALEC legislators are being subsidized by corporate lobbyists.

Those lawmakers push for the enactment of model bills written by the corporations that pay them – bills that would benefit those big corporations. Bills like the “Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act.” ALEC and the national Chamber of Commerce are leading the effort to pass the FACT Act in the United States.

In 2013, asbestos companies used their political influence to first introduce the FACT Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. Under the guise of transparency, the bill will delay, and in some cases, deny justice and badly needed compensation to people suffering from asbestos-related diseases.

Another example of this is Georgia’s Asbestos Claims Priorities Act, which was coincidently passed the same year that its sponsors received thousands of dollars to attend ALEC conferences. The bill maliciously limits who can file an asbestos claim against corporations in the state of Georgia.

In recent years, 104 major American corporations have cut ties with ALEC because of its controversial policies. One of those corporations was BP, which recently ended its affiliation with the organization. In addition to bills like the FACT Act, ALEC is responsible for other contentious bills and issues such as voter suppression laws, extreme gun laws and climate change denial.

Watch the investigative video below for more details.

You can learn more about the FACT Act by reading the below blogs:

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Asbestos and Mesothelioma News Wrap Up: March 2015


The asbestos attorneys at Simmons Hanly Conroy are committed to giving you the latest asbestos and mesothelioma news. Below is a group of some of the most recent news stories covering asbestos exposure, mesothelioma research and other headlines from throughout the globe.

  • Study finds 21 new cases of mesothelioma in group of MN miners
    mesothelioma newsA group of 69,000 mine workers were exposed to asbestos while employed in Minnesota’s iron mining industry between the 1930s and 1982. Among that group, 21 more men have been diagnosed with mesothelioma – in addition to the 80 cases previously identified, that brings the total of mesothelioma cases to 101.
  • VIDEO: ADAO – “Asbestos Kills”
    The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) recently released a video promoting Global Asbestos Awareness Week, which runs from April 1 – 7. Watch and share the video to help spread asbestos awareness.
  • The Asbestos Transparency Farce
    Corporate institutions aim to push legislation through Congress that is all about invading the privacy rights of its victims – primarily the individuals who have been physically harmed by asbestos exposure at the hands of such corporations.

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Petersen/Siddall Families and Law Firms Present Fire Prevention Gift to SIUE


Fire Prevention check Chancellor's office 03-10-15The families of Lauren Petersen and Lacy Siddall along with their attorneys Ted Gianaris of Simmons Hanly Conroy and Tom Long, of Sandberg Phoenix & Von Gontard PC, have partnered with Southern Illinois University Edwardsville to produce a fire safety video in memory of SIUE students Lauren and Lacy.

The two women passed away from their injuries after their off-campus apartment caught fire in April 2012. The video will share the girls’ stories and emphasize the importance of fire safety for college students. The families and their attorneys have each donated $5,000 toward the video production, for a total of $20,000.

“No one should have to experience the pain and suffering these two families have gone through,” said Gianaris. “It was an honor to represent the Petersen family, and if this video can help prevent another family from experiencing similar heartache then it is well worth the effort.”

The 19-year-old Petersen was a student in the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences. The 21-year-old Siddall was studying speech-language pathology in the SIUE School of Education, Health and Human Behavior.

The families and their attorneys fought a large insurance company for two years before winning in 2014. During the fight, they all agreed that if they won they would use some of the proceeds to honor the girls and try to prevent college fire tragedies in the future.

The initial work on the project started March 10 with the families meeting with Residence Life Cinema, a division of Swank Motion Pictures, to discuss storyboarding for the video. The film company hopes to have it ready to release this fall in time for 2015 freshman orientation.

Residence Life Cinema provides campuses nationwide with entertainment, student development content and communication tools through campus channels and streaming technology. Their services include serving as a recruitment and retention tool, and encouraging student success by addressing critical issues such as campus safety, binge drinking and sexual assault through various programming materials.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high quality, affordable education that prepares them for successful careers and lives of purpose. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of nearly 14,000.

Credit: -SIUE News- http://www.siue.edu/news/2015/03/PetersenSiddallFamiliesLawFirmsPresentFirePreventionGift.shtml

Photo (L-R): Simmons Hanly Conroy Shareholder Ted Gianaris, SIUE Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe, Rex and Bobbie Petersen, Shirley and Coy Siddall, and Thomas Long, counsel at Sandberg Phoenix & Von Gontard PC.

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Asbestos and Mesothelioma News Wrap Up: February 2015


The mesothelioma lawyers at Simmons Hanly Conroy are committed to giving you the latest asbestos and mesothelioma news. Below is a group of some of the most recent news stories covering asbestos exposure, mesothelioma research and other headlines from throughout the world.

  • 3 plead guilty to role in large asbestos release in MI
    Three suspects have pleaded guilty for their roles in what could be the largest asbestos release in Michigan since 1971. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that cleanup could cost as much as $1.03 million, according to court documents.
  • Announcing the winner of the 2015 Outstanding Nurse Award
    The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF) has announced the second annual winner of the June Breit and Jocelyn Farrar Outstanding Nurse Award – Joanna Redondo of the Hillman Cancer Center. After initial nominations and the selection of five finalists, community voting led to the selection of Joanne as the 2015 winner.
  • Meet the 2015 ADAO Conference keynote speakers: Dr. Jorma Rantanen and Susan Vento
    The keynote speakers for this year’s ADAO Asbestos Awareness Conference have been announced. Dr. Jorma Rantanen is a specialist in occupational health and served for 30 years as the Director General of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. Susan Vento is the widow of Minnesota’s Fourth Congressional District representative Bruce Vento, who died from asbestos exposure and mesothelioma.
  • Feds, Michigan crack down on shoddy asbestos removal
    The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and federal prosecutors are stepping up their efforts against property owners and contractors who violate the federal Clean Air Act. Specifically, the crack down pertains to the improper removal of asbestos from buildings scheduled for demolition.

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Asbestos and Mesothelioma News Wrap Up: December 2014


The mesothelioma lawyers at Simmons Hanly Conroy understand the importance of staying up to date on the latest asbestos and mesothelioma news. Below is a group of some of the most recent news stories covering asbestos exposure, mesothelioma research and other headlines from throughout the world.

  • EPA: Asbestos cleanup reducing health risks in Libby
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a human health assessment for Libby, one of the largest sites of asbestos exposure, which found that cleanup efforts at the site are reducing deadly asbestos poisoning.
  • Asbestos remains legal despite fatal illnesses linked to it
    Asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma, claim the lives of 10,000 Americans every year. Despite this, all efforts to legislate an asbestos ban have been stopped by powerful industrial lobbies and partisan wrangling.
  • Asbestos: An ongoing challenge to global health
    A new article in the journal Annals of Global Health details the current state of asbestos use worldwide, including the how the global spread of asbestos is changing. However, there are still examples of flawed science that are used to justify continued use across the globe.

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