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Oklahoma Passes Comprehensive Tort Reform: Governor Brad Henry Signs Reform Legislation

WASHINGTON, May 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry yesterday signed into law H.B. 1603, the most comprehensive piece of legal reform legislation ever passed by the Oklahoma legislative and executive branches. Governor Henry's approval follows the Oklahoma Senate's passage of the comprehensive reform by a vote of 45-1 on May 14. The bill had passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives earlier that day by an 86-13 vote.

H.B. 1603 contains numerous provisions that reflect the American Legislative Exchange Council's civil justice reform policy and model legislation, including class action reform; a cap on the amount a party must post before appealing; venue reform that will keep citizens of other states from engaging in "litigation tourism"; a redefinition of the term "frivolous lawsuit"; junk science and expert witness reforms; asbestos and silica reform; caps on noneconomic damages except in cases of severe disfigurement and reckless disregard; gun manufacturer liability protection; volunteer immunity; and teacher liability protection.

ALEC applauds the efforts of bill authors Rep. Dan Sullivan and Sen. Glenn Coffee, the Oklahoma Legislature, the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce, and the many parties who have worked to give Oklahomans this important reform.

"Thanks to the passage of H.B. 1603, Oklahomans can now look forward to the economic and medical benefits that are sure to accompany such positive reforms and that states like Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Texas have experienced as national leaders in the trend to reform America's legal system," said Amy Kjose, ALEC's Civil Justice Task Force Director. "In difficult economic times, the need for competitive legal reform is only greater. Oklahoma legislators keenly recognized this need."

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is the nation's largest nonpartisan, individual membership organization of state legislators.

SOURCE American Legislative Exchange Council
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