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Bill Would Reduce Lawsuits Over Prop 65 Warning Signs

slworking 2, Flickr

A Prop 65 warning sign.

slworking 2, Flickr

 In recent years some lawyers have made a lot of money threatening to sue businesses whose signs are not in compliance. But a proposed new law may significantly reduce that kind of litigation.

The signs are everywhere. In coffee shops, parking garages, and laundry rooms throughout the state. They’re supposed to warn people about potentially hazardous chemicals in the air. But Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gatto said the signs have spawned an industry in which lawyers sue businesses whose signs aren’t up to code. Business owners are then forced to go to court or pay a settlement to the attorney. Gatto said it has gotten out of control

 “These are things like not posting a sign that coffee can cause cancer or not posting a sign that cheeseburgers could cause cancer," he said. "Those are some of the more outrageous claims that we’ve seen recently.”

Gatto has authored legislation now sitting on the governor’s desk that would fine business owners and give them two weeks to fix their signs.

He acknowledges this bill doesn’t address whether the signs are useful. He said he might take up that question next year.

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Katie Orr

State Government Reporter

Katie Orr covers everything from the Governor to state agencies. She received her Masters in Political Science from San Diego State University. In her spare time Katie enjoys wine tasting and shopping, though she tries not to combine the two.   Read Full Bio