Special Session: Necessary or a waste of money?
OKLAHOMA CITY — State legislators were back at the Capitol Tuesday to begin a special session called by Governor Fallin. She wants them to revise a lawsuit reform bill that addresses frivolous litigation.
That’s because the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled the previous law unconstitutional in June. The court said the Comprehensive Lawsuit Reform Act of 2009, which was signed by Governor Brad Henry in 2009, is not allowed to deal with multiple subjects.
So lawmakers will now try to break down the same legislation into nearly 30 separate bills.
Since each day in special session will cost taxpayers $30,000, Democratic Minority Leader Scott Inman (D-OKC and Del City) called it a waste of money because the issue could be addressed during regular session in February. He also says the state wasted money on a poorly-crafted law.
“In a time when our public schools, say for example in Mid-Del, are looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars in cuts through the state aid formula, we’re going to go spend upwards of $300,000 for special interests, special legislation, in this special session and that’s really unfortunate,” Inman said.
But the Governor said Tuesday she disagrees with the Supreme Court’s ruling and said a special session is the less expensive option.
“I think it’s very important that we pass laws of reform now because waiting another year could cost Oklahoma businesses and certainly those in the medical community multi millions of dollars,” Fallin said.
Republican Senator Kyle Loveless (R-OKC and Mustang) said the Supreme Court’s latest ruling on the previous law is to blame for this session. Their ruling came out in June after regular session ended in May.
To emphasize her argument, Governor Fallin said medical malpractice cases have dropped 39% since the passage of the previous lawsuit reform bill; the lowest in state history.