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Senate Approves Tort Reform Bill

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The state Senate voted 19-14 Tuesday to approve Governor Walker's special session legislation directed at tort reform.


Senate Majority leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) says the bill would help create a business-friendly legal environment and ease fears about frivolous lawsuits in the state. The bill passed on a straight party-line vote, with stiff criticism from Demorcats. State Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) said the bill's caps on punitive damages, restrictions on expert witness testimony, and new protections for product liability will harm people who were victims through no fault of their own. Jauch called the bill an "unjust, unfair proposal."


State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) condemned a portion of the bill that keeps state regulatory and incident reports at medical facilities from being used as evidence. Lassa said it would make it easier to conceal negligence that harms innocent people and does nothing to actually create jobs.


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