A proposed bill in California could impact lawsuits filed against small businesses in the future.

The proposed bill could end up reducing the number of lawsuits filed against small businesses that do not post warnings to the public over toxic chemical exposure.

Under California law Proposition 65, business owners in the state are required to warn customers about possible exposure to toxic chemicals and materials. Currently, business owners that fail to warn customers about the exposure could face a lawsuit as well as penalties up to $2,500 a day.

The proposed bill hopes to change this law and give businesses more time to notify customers of potential toxic exposure threats. The bill stipulates that businesses would have 14 days to fix posting violations. In that same time frame, businesses would also be able to notify customers of any possible toxic chemicals that may be in their products.

Many business owners and business groups support the proposed bill, saying that it would allow businesses to correct their mistakes in a timely manner and reduce the number of lawsuits they may face as a result of any possible toxic products. Some supporters of the bill claim that some people take advantage of the regulations of the Proposition 65 law, resulting in many businesses facing lawsuits without even having the chance to correct their violation and notify their customers.

If the bill is passed, it could significantly impact business owners who have a higher risk of facing product liability lawsuits by allowing them to still notify their customers about any potential issues before they could be held liable.

Source: Sacramento Business Journal, "Bill would reduce Prop. 65 lawsuits," Christopher Arns, April 19, 2013