Bill of the Week

Legal landscape shifts in passage of 'emergency' item

Bill of the Week

House Bill 274

Filed: March 10, 2011
Author: Rep. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe

"Loser pays" has been a constant mantra of the tort reform wrecking crew. The business interests trying to dodge their days in court pine for a law that would scare people away from suing them just because of the cost. HB 274 gives them exactly that, by making the loser in a lawsuit cover all costs, and apparently this is an emergency issue – calling it that allows the Legislature to accelerate it through the early days of the session by skirting rules about voting on bills in the first 60 days. This bill, however, was such a priority to Gov. Rick Perry that he waited until May 6 – day 124 of the session – to declare it an emergency item. The House Republican Caucus leapt into action and went straight to debate on May 7. When Dems sought to delay debate by breaking quorum, the GOP first threatened to lock the doors on them, then simply suspended all the rules and went straight to a vote. So a major bill that could revolutionize the legal landscape passed the House without one word of debate. A bad bill, badly passed.

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loser pays, lawsuits, Legislature

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