The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 18, 2013

‘Tort reform’ special session not a wise use of time, money


Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Gov. Mary Fallin is testing the waters for a possible special legislative session on lawsuit reform.

In June, The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that a 2009 law on civil lawsuits violated the state Constitution’s prohibition against bills containing more than one subject, according to The Associated Press.

Both Fallin and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman cited worry in the business community over the June ruling.

Bingman supports the suggested session on lawsuit reform, but we don’t think it’s a good idea.

While tort reform is a good thing, the compelling time element isn’t there.

The Oklahoman’s editorial page doesn’t see a need for the special session, either, citing an estimated cost of more than $20,000 per day.

That would not be a wise use of time and money.

Interestingly, House Democrats are arguing that such a session should not come at taxpayer expense, even suggesting lawmakers should work for free after passing the unconstitutional bill. How’s that for outflanking the conservatives?

The Legislature will remain busy. More than 60 interim legislative study topics recently were approved, including a worthy examination of closing the Northern Oklahoma Resource Center of Enid. That has a direct impact here in northwest Oklahoma.

Efforts were unsuccessful last session to stall the projected 2015 closing, but Speaker Pro Tem Mike Jackson, R-Enid, is not giving up and requested the NORCE interim study.

We can’t wait to hear the results.