Enhanced On Line News
May 20, 2011

NASHVILLE, Tenn.–(EON: Enhanced Online News)–Overwhelming bi-partisan approval has been given by Tennessee lawmakers to Governor Bill Haslam’s comprehensive civil justice reform legislation. It gives Tennessee one of the most comprehensive tort reform laws in the country that will bring, create and keep jobs in the state.

“This legislation will catapult Tennessee ahead of many states in terms of attractiveness to businesses looking to relocate or add operations,” said Doug Buttrey, Executive Director of Tennesseans for Economic Growth (TEG), a statewide coalition of small, medium and large businesses that helped galvanize support for the bill.

“We’ve been at a disadvantage because business owners and job creators in Tennessee have been exposed to unlimited litigation. Now with caps on non-economic and punitive damages, including medical cases, we are creating a stable and more positive business climate that will bring, create and keep more jobs in Tennessee. Indeed, this could be a shot heard around the world putting Tennessee on the map in terms of attracting jobs.”

“Governor Haslam has provided great leadership in putting this bill together and making it one of his top priorities for approval in this session of the General Assembly,” continued Buttrey. “He and the chief sponsors of the bill, Senator Mark Norris and Representative Gerald McCormick, have done a great service to the people of Tennessee and for our state’s future in guiding this bill through the legislative process.”

According to a study commissioned by TEG done by the highly respected Perryman Group, if the reforms approved in Tennessee work as effectively as they have in other states such as Texas, Tennessee could see an additional $16.2 billion in economic activity and more than 122,000 permanent jobs over the next decade.

“We believe given the more comprehensive nature of the civil justice changes here in Tennessee, our additional economic activity and job growth could be even higher,” added Buttrey.

“These civil justice changes protect the right of citizens to a trial by jury,” said TEG Board Chair, Bill Lee of Nashville-based Lee & Company. “It also allows for unlimited recovery of economic damages for true medical expenses for injuries.”

The Tennessee House of Representatives passed the civil justice reform legislation on May 9 by a vote of 72-24 which is six votes more than a two-third majority. The Tennessee Senate did the same on May 12 by a margin of 21-12 which is an overwhelming vote just one vote short of a two-thirds majority.

Final approval of the new law came on May 20 after a difference in a minor amendment was worked out between the two houses.

Buttrey says the votes by lawmakers reflect opinion polls done across Tennessee which clearly indicate the public is strongly behind these changes.

Tennesseans for Economic Growth is a non-profit 501 (c) (4) membership advocacy organization made up of small, medium and large businesses operating in Tennessee, as well as individuals.

For more information, including the complete Perryman study and other background information on civil justice reform, go to www.tennesseansforeconomicgrowth.com.

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