Legislator Wants More Tulsa Representation on Tort Reform Committee

April 16, 2004

Oklahoma State Rep. Fred Perry (R-Tulsa), senior member of the Tulsa House delegation, expressed concern that no House members from the Tulsa area are on the Tort Reform Joint Conference Committee.

According to the House Media Division, Perry pointed out that Sen. Jerry Smith is the only Tulsa legislator on the panel out of 24 members. Sen. James Williamson (R-Tulsa) was originally named to the committee but due to trial commitments was forced to decline.

“Even though lawsuit reform is not a geographic issue, I have received calls from professional people in Tulsa who are concerned that of the 10 House members on the committee, none of them is from Tulsa,” Perry said. “I think the callers have a point, and I ask House Speaker Adair, Senate President Pro Tempore Hobson, co-chair Rep. Jari Askins and co-chair Sen. Mike Morgan to name a House member from Tulsa to the committee. As the second largest city in the state with many physicians, attorneys and business people, it only makes sense that a House member from the Tulsa area be included.

“I’ve seen figures estimating Tulsa County at 40 percent of the gross state product. We’re not asking for 40 percent of the seats on the committee, just a reasonable representation,” Perry said. “A second Tulsa member would give Tulsa two of the 24 seats.”

Perry also suggested that the additional House member should be a Republican. “Of the 10 Representatives presently on the committee, only four are Republicans,” he said. “If a Republican Tulsa member were added, the Democrats would still have a majority of the House members (6 of 11) and of the committee as a whole (14 of 25).”

The Tort Reform Conference Committee is scheduled to meet for four consecutive Thursdays and held its first meeting April 15th.

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