Markey, House Pass Corporate Manslaughter Bill

Markey, House Pass Corporate Manslaughter Bill

Bill will allow Attorney General to pursue greater penalties
(BOSTON) - On Monday, State Representative Christopher Markey (D- Dartmouth) joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives in unanimously passing legislation that would increase penalties for corporate manslaughter.  The bill, H1534, was sponsored by Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Eugene O’Flaherty to update a component of the law that had remained untouched for many years.  Originally enacted in 1819 to hold companies accountable for loss of life caused by their negligence, the law’s penalty of $1,000 remains unchanged but this bill, if enacted, will increase the maximum amount for a penalty to a $250,000 fine.  “It allows our prosecutors to hold our corporations accountable,” said O’Flaherty, who took to the House floor to plead the merits of the bill.  Markey, who serves as Vice-Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, supported the legislation and was pleased with the outcome.  Markey said, “This increased penalty is overdue and will allow for a jury penalty for a corporation that has a reckless disregard for human life.  Once again, we have confirmed positive reform which will hold corporations accountable.”

The bill must be reconciled with a similar version passed in the Senate, and Markey is hopeful that some variation of the House bill will pass without contest.  He said, “The Big Dig tragedy is obviously a motivating circumstance which initiated this increased penalty.  I hope this new penalty will result in corporations reconsidering their cost benefit analyses more carefully in the future.”

Paid for by the Committee to Elect Christopher Markey

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