SACRAMENTO — People who claim they are the victims of secondhand smoke or tobacco company deception could sue the industry for health-related costs under legislation sent to Gov. Pete Wilson on Wednesday.
The measure by Sen. Byron Sher (D-Stanford) is the third bill sent to the Republican governor this year that attacks a 1987 statute that created a lawsuit shield for products such as tobacco that are widely known to be unsafe.
Wilson has already signed a bill by Assembly Speaker Cruz Bustamante (D-Fresno) that says the statute does not prevent the state from suing tobacco companies to recover the cost of treating indigents for smoking-related illnesses.
California and about 40 other states have sued the industry to recover those costs.
A second bill, by Sen. Quentin Kopp (I-San Francisco), would repeal the shield for tobacco companies. It is on Wilson's desk awaiting action.