Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Days 11 and 12 of the Legislative Session

This week has certainly picked up speed. Committees are in full swing and there are several pieces of legislation being passed by both Chambers.

On Tuesday, Senator Don Thomas' SB 5, seatbelts in pick-up trucks, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Also on Tuesday, the AJC printed a "Pro" and a "Con" guest column regarding the Governor's tort reform package. Interestingly, the Pro was not written by a person in Georgia, but rather the Director of the American Justice Partnership, Dan Pero, of Lansing Michigan.

So the Macon Telegraph printed a supporting piece written by someone in San Francisco. And the AJC has printed a supporting piece written by someone in Michigan.

It seems evident, at this point, that there are some national interests pushing the Governor's legislation.

GTLA's President, Fred Orr, responded to Mr. Pero's column with the following Letter to the Editor:

In a guest column printed on 2/3/09, Dan Pero, President of the American Justice Partnership (AJP), commends our Governor for proposing new ‘tort reform’ measures while he distorts the truth about the intention and effect of the legislation.

The AJP was created by the National Manufacturers Association (NMA) to enact tort reform at the state level. It’s a front group for big business and corporate greed. Mr. Pero doesn’t even live in Georgia, he lives in Michigan—a state that passed similar legislation in 1995 under Governor John Engler, who is now the President of NAM.

Mr. Pero fails to report that Michigan, after passing similar legislation, is facing a disastrous economic crisis. Also, he misrepresents the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association’s (GTLA) position. GTLA opposes the Governor’s so-called “tort reform” package because large corporations do not deserve special rights— period.

The citizens of Georgia know what’s best for Georgia. We don’t need some talking head in Michigan, a ‘tort reform’ front group, or a corrupted federal bureaucracy to tell us what to do. Let’s keep the rhetoric out of the debate and instead focus on what the Constitution provides for—a government that protects the rights of its people, not the financial interests of a few.

Fred Orr
President of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association

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