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Lack of Senate Vote on Lawsuit Reform a ‘Failure of Leadership’ by Governor, Senate Dem Leaders

* Henry’s ‘My Way or Highway’ Approach Leads to Bill’s Demise

Senate Democrat leaders did not bring up Gov. Henry’s watered-down lawsuit reform package for a vote on the Senate floor Thursday after Henry and Democrat leaders could not produce enough Democrat senators to pass the partisan measure.

“The lack of a vote today on lawsuit reform is a failure of leadership on the part of Gov. Henry and the Senate Democrat leadership,” stated Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City.

“Gov. Henry took a ‘my way or the highway’ approach on this issue. The Democrats are the majority in the Senate and if the governor couldn’t find 25 members of his own party to vote for his partisan, trial-lawyer protection plan, that’s not the Republicans’ fault,” he said.

Coffee said Senate Republicans are eager to support a real lawsuit reform bill – but neither the governor nor Senate Democrat leaders asked for GOP input on the governor’s bill.

“When Gov. Henry and the Senate Democrats are ready to pass real and meaningful lawsuit reform in the Senate, all they have to do is work with us. You’ll see strong support from Senate Republicans if and when real lawsuit reform is taken up in the state Senate,” Coffee stated.

Coffee also said Henry and Senate Democrat leaders have learned very little from last year’s experience, when they forced a watered-down bill through the legislature despite protests from rank-and-file physicians and business leaders.

“Despite the hundreds of hours of testimony we heard last year, despite the negative feedback from physicians and business leaders about last year’s bogus bill, and despite Oklahoma’s continuing image as a haven for lawsuits, Gov. Henry and Senate Democrats have shown today that they learned nothing from last year’s experience. They are still trying to pass off a sham bill as real lawsuit reform, but it’s far from it,” Coffee said.

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Senate Communications Office- (405) 521-5774