Texas has been experiencing a record-breaking heat wave that has now spread across the southern United States. And while this was happening, Texas governor Greg Abbott signed a bill that eliminates mandatory water breaks for outdoor construction workers. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: Texas has been experiencing a record-breaking heat wave that’s now spread across the southern United States. And while this was happening, unbelievable, Texas Governor Abbott signed a bill that eliminates mandatory water breaks for outdoor construction workers. How crazy. Why would you even dream of putting your name on this when the temperatures out there are 120 degrees? And all it says is that, look, every intervals we need to give people water breaks so they don’t dehydrate and die. 120 degrees topped off already. And you got people working on roofs, and this idiot governor says, oh, no, we don’t wanna give them water breaks. Do you think he just didn’t read it? He didn’t read it or what?

Farron Cousins: It’s possible, but even if you’re looking at this as a, from a standpoint of, oh, we’re protecting corporations, you’re still not even protecting corporations with this. Because when people drop dead on your job site and you’re paying them, you’re gonna look at some kinda liability. So he is actually opening up corporations to worse things happening to them. But this is just, this is stupid.

Mike Papantonio: Well, explain. No, no. Talk about, that’s a good point. Expound on that just a little bit. He’s inviting lawsuits and terrible things to happen to corporations.

Farron Cousins: Right. So if I’m running a construction site, if I’m the the manager or the owner, everybody on that site is my responsibility, legally my responsibility. You get hurt, you drop dead from exhaustion, that’s on me. So I would be held liable in court by the member’s, or person’s family. You know, anything that happens, those people will be sued. And it’s gonna be a pretty easy lawsuit.

Mike Papantonio: Well, I mean, people die from this.

Farron Cousins: They do. Every year in Texas.

Mike Papantonio: I mean, every year. Matter of fact, I was looking at, was there 42 deaths over just the last, less than nine years because of heat already. And then since those nine years, I think it’s heated up another three degrees. And so if you’ve got somebody working in construction, why would you say, no, you can’t give them a water break every 20 minutes? When OSHA and everybody that studies it said, that’s what you must do to avoid that worker becoming ill or dying.

Farron Cousins: And it is, it’s almost a scientific formula. They’ve found, okay, if you work for 50 minutes in the sun, 10 minutes in the shade with water will cool your body down enough for another 50 minutes.

Mike Papantonio: It’s not like it’s tough science, is it?

Farron Cousins: No. This is just, it’s stupid and cruel. And I still, for the life of me, can’t figure out the reasoning for it. He hasn’t given us anything. But this is.

Mike Papantonio: Chamber of Commerce.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Chamber of Commerce.

Farron Cousins: We can’t let them rest for 10 minutes.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Chamber of Commerce. I swear, you know, I don’t think people have a grasp at how ugly the whole US Chamber of Commerce thing has become. They’re controlled by 19 of the biggest corporations on the globe. Everybody believes that the Chamber of Commerce is a mom and pop organization. No. Chamber of Commerce is there for people like this. They’re always the front man. They’re paying out the big money and the people paying out the big money are the biggest corporations on the globe. The big energy companies, the big pharmacy companies. Big construction companies. So this guy’s getting money from that end of it, I’m sure. But how do you become so less human that you say, no, we can’t give you water breaks?

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.