Senator plans bill on public interest lawsuits

Dec 20, 2013 -- 11:00am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - An Anchorage senator is planning legislation that would protect litigants who sue the state to protect Alaskans' rights. Sen. Bill Wielechowski says individuals trying to fight against government intrusion should be applauded, not punished. His office, in a release, says a 2003 law allowed winners of public interest litigation to collect attorneys' fees, even if the losing litigants were defending the rights of all Alaskans. Those who file what are deemed to be frivolous lawsuits would remain liable for fees, under the proposed legislation. The proposal builds off a case before the state Supreme Court. Former Alaska first lady Bella Hammond and constitutional delegate Vic Fischer were among the plaintiffs challenging permits for the proposed Pebble Mine but on the losing side. The state and Pebble are now seeking fees.

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