vtuking

Edwards rejects 8 bills, including business lobby priority

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards on Friday vetoed eight bills passed by Louisiana lawmakers in their recently ended regular session, including the business lobby’s top priority, a measure to scale back damage claims against insurance companies in car accident lawsuits.

In rejecting the sweeping changes to Louisiana’s civil litigation system, the Democratic governor said the bill by Republican Sen. Kirk Talbot of River Ridge didn’t contain a commitment that it would lower insurance rates as its supporters promised.

“It is important to note that not a single insurance company testified in committee that (the bill) would actually reduce rates,” Edwards wrote in his veto message, released Friday evening. “Further, the rate reduction provision in the bill is permissive, rather than mandatory, and actually allows for rate increases if the insurers are able to demonstrate one would be needed.”

GOP lawmakers are trying to pass a similar measure in the Legislature’s ongoing special session, and Edwards said he’s willing to continue negotiations.

“I remain willing to work with anyone operating in good faith to reach a compromise,” Edwards wrote.

Edwards also scrapped bills that would have given lawmakers more oversight of state contracts and would have enacted new restrictions on TV, radio, and billboard ads from lawyers promising big paydays by suing businesses.

He jettisoned a measure that would have expanded an existing law barring entrance to any place deemed “critical infrastructure,” such as chemical plants, power plants, water treatment facilities, ports, and pipelines. The bill by Republican Rep. Jerome “Zee” Zeringue of Houma would have added floodgates and pump stations to that list — and would have toughened the penalties during states of emergency, requiring a mandatory minimum three-year prison sentence for anyone convicted.

At the Louisiana Capitol, the veto drawing the most interest involved the so-called tort-reform bill changing the system for handling car wreck lawsuits, a measure championed by business groups.

The measure would have forced jury trials more frequently, so that lawyers would have to argue damage claims to more people than a single judge; capped certain damages that can be awarded; limited when insurance companies can be sued directly and increased the time accident victims can file lawsuits to give more time for settlement negotiations. It also would have allowed information about whether someone was wearing a seatbelt as evidence in litigation.

Supporters of the measure said it will lower Louisiana’s car insurance rates, which are the nation’s second-highest, by making it less lucrative to sue over car accidents.

But in the flurry of final rewrites to the legislation amid negotiations with the Edwards administration, lawmakers added language that could cause even larger damage awards in some of those lawsuits. Republican lawmakers who backed the proposal urged Edwards to sign the bill and work with lawmakers on the language fix.

“The governor’s veto of Sen. Talbot’s (bill), the bill to reduce frivolous lawsuits and insurance rates, was not unexpected, but make no mistake, leaving this special session without legislation signed into law to address the insurance crisis is not a feasible option. Everyone knows the insurance affordability and availability problem is very real,” Stephen Waguespack, president of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, said in a statement.

Opponents of the package of civil litigation system changes, largely lawyers and Democrats, argued the measure would keep people from getting the money needed to cover their medical bills and could increase costs for courts.

Bill backers worry that Edwards won’t sign any version of the bill because his allies and campaign contributors include personal injury lawyers.

 

 

vtuking

31 Comments

  1. Reply

    Thanks for the update

  2. Reply

    Amazing

  3. Reply

    Good to know

  4. Reply

    He jettisoned a measure that would have expanded an existing law barring entrance to any place deemed “critical infrastructure,” such as chemical plants, power plants, water treatment facilities, ports, and pipelines.

  5. Reply

    Thanks for sharing

  6. Reply

    Impressive

  7. Reply

    Good sharing

  8. Reply

    Nice
    Thanks for sharing

  9. Reply

    Good article

  10. Reply

    Thanks for sharing

  11. Reply

    Good to know. Thanks for letting me know

  12. Reply

    Good article

  13. Reply

    good one

  14. Reply

    Thanks

  15. Reply

    Cool

  16. Reply

    Thanks jumboearn for this platform

  17. Reply

    Can you imagine

  18. Profile photo ofItz Kvng Twitch

    Reply

    Very interesting

  19. Reply

    Interesting

  20. Reply

    Good

  21. Profile photo ofKreator

    Reply

    Nice Piece

  22. Reply

    This is serious

  23. Reply

    Good to know

  24. Reply

    Maybe Edwards doesn’t have enough funds to cover all those 8bills

  25. Reply

    Nice exposure

  26. Reply

    nice

  27. Reply

    good

  28. Reply

    Who b dat

  29. Reply

    good

  30. Reply

    Hmmm

  31. Reply

    Nice update

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