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GOP Leaders Announce Plans For Lawsuit Reform Legislation

Sen. Williamson and Lt. Gov. Fallin call on Gov. Henry and legislative leaders to implement lawsuit reform during the 2004 legislative session.

Oklahoma City – Senate and House Republican leaders and Lieutenant Governor Mary Fallin held a joint news conference today at the state Capitol to announce plans to introduce lawsuit reform legislation during the legislative session which begins February 2nd. The legislation will be modeled after significant lawsuit reforms passed and signed into law in Texas in 2003. Following are quotes from participants in today’s news conference:

Lieutenant Governor Fallin said, “Recent national exposure stemming from Senator Taylor’s letter has spurred an outcry from Oklahomans. The silver lining in all of this is that we have an unprecedented opportunity to provide bipartisan leadership to address this crucial issue. We need and will be seeking support from Governor Henry, Senator Taylor, and other Democrat legislators to get meaningful lawsuit reform enacted in Oklahoma.”

House Republican Leader Todd Hiett (R-Kellyville) said, “House Republicans have advocated lawsuit reform for many years without much assistance from the other side of the aisle, however the dynamics surrounding this issue have changed very much in the past few weeks.” “With the tidal wave of negative publicity Oklahoma has received, it’s imperative the Democrat legislative leadership and Governor Henry team with House and Senate Republicans and the Lieutenant Governor to truly bring about fundamental lawsuit reform. The opportunity will never be better.”

Senate Republican Leader James A. Williamson (R-Tulsa) said, “There is no need for additional study on lawsuit reform – it has been studied and studied for years. What we need is action and leadership. Republicans are stepping up to the challenge by introducing legislation that will meet or beat the lawsuit reforms recently passed in Texas. With these reforms, Oklahoma will take another step toward a brighter economic future. Without them, we will continue to lose businesses and jobs to Texas and other pro-jobs states. But we can only succeed in making these reforms a reality if Governor Henry and the Democrat leadership are willing to put aside partisanship and join us in this effort.”

Representative Jim Newport (R-Ponca City) commented, “Our caucus has recognized the intense need for lawsuit reform for years.” “It’s unfortunate it has taken a negative incident to bring this issue to light, however I’m confident positive change will emerge in the end. I’ve studied this issue intensely and know the negative effect our present day system has on economic development. If Oklahoma is to create high wage jobs in the future lawsuit reform must occur. It’s that simple.”

Contact info
Brian Downs, House Republican Legislative Assistant, 405-557-7385 Paul Ziriax, Senate Republican Legislative Assistant, 405-521-5654 Tony Vann, Communications Director for Lt. Governor Fallin, 405-521-3749