Okla. House Leadership Urges Senate Passage of Lawsuit Reform Bill

March 18, 2005

Oklahoma House of Representatives Speaker Todd Hiett urged the state Senate to act now to pass what he called true lawsuit reform in the form of House Bill 2047, the Justice and Common Sense Act, which was recently passed by the full House. He said it is important to pass reform measures before neighboring Missouri moves forward and gains a competitive edge.

Hiett noted that the Missouri legislature has placed workers’ compensation and lawsuit reform on Governor Matt Blunt’s desk.

“Other states are moving forward. Missouri is not sitting still. They’re working to put themselves in a more competitive position,” said Hiett. “Missouri is set to embrace a pro-growth agenda for change. They’re just a step away from putting core reforms into law. It’s time for us to act, or we will be left behind in the competition for new jobs and better wages.”

Earlier, the Oklahoma State Senate failed to pass Senate Bill 914, which had been billed as an attempt at lawsuit reform.

“Unfortunately Senate Bill 914 was another watered-down attempt to protect trial lawyers and did nothing to address true lawsuit reform,” said Hiett. “Thankfully, Senators saw through the bill and it failed to pass. Now it’s time to act – and pass real lawsuit reform contained in the Justice and Common Sense Act.”

Hiett pointed out that Senate Bill 914 completely misses the mark in comparison to the omnibus reform effort in HB 2047, the Justice and Common Sense Act.

“The Justice and Common Sense Act is clearly the best plan for Oklahoma,” said Hiett. “Working Oklahomans want to see the legal system work in our state. And they know that junk lawsuits are hurting their chances for a better future.”

“We worked hard in the House to pass a comprehensive lawsuit reform measure that addresses the root problems in our state’s legal system,” Hiett continued. “Oklahomans want the Senate to move forward, and quickly embrace this plan.”

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