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Senator San Nicolas Tables Duenas Bill that Would Have Spent Over $60 Million in Legal Fees

Senator San Nicolas motioned today to move Bill 281-32 off the legislative session floor and back to committee.  The bill would have authorized the spending of $350,000 in legal costs and expenses to hire a law firm to sue the federal government for “harms at the Ordot Dump”.  The bill also authorized that the law firm would be paid an additional legal fee of 30% of any money recovered.  Bill sponsor Sen. Chris Duenas claimed on the session floor that over $100-$200 million could be won if the suit was successful, meaning that attorneys fees would have could have come out to $30-$60 million.

Bill 281-32 would have spent $350,000 of the people money to do all the legal legwork, only to have the work handed over to a private law firm of the administration’s choosing to pocket the $30-$60 million of the settlement,” said Senator San Nicolas.

 The source of the $350,000 in funding was not identified in the bill.  Instead the bill says that the “the Department of Administration is directed to identify the fund source for this purpose”.  Senator San Nicolas called this an unfunded mandate.

Bill 281-32 is another unfunded mandate with no funding source identified in the bill.  When funding sources aren’t identified that means that $350,000 could come out of the funding for education, health, public safety and other priorities.  If this case is strong we should have it move forward on a contingency basis without spending public funds to do all the legwork for a private firm,” said Senator San Nicolas.

 Senator San Nicolas’s motion to move the bill back to committee was passed 8-6 along party lines

 For additional information, please contact John Paul Manuel at 472-6453 or email