I heard yesterday that the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce is expected to decide in June whether to mount a petition campaign to put a “tort reform” constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2014. The plan to get that done in the legislature was stymied by a counterattack in the form of a water-muddying competing proposal by Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, who’s a puppet for one of the state’s most successful trial lawyers, John Goodson.
Talk Business has lots more background on the chamber’s deliberations in an interview with chamber boss Randy Zook.
One factor they might consider: If the chamber moves ahead, plaintiffs’ lawyers — rather than spend millions in simply attempting to defeat it — might resort to a competing amendment through petition that would be more protective of the rights of injured people. When proposed amendments have similar purposes, the one with the most votes wins. Pictures of grannies covered in bed sores — potentially limited by greedy businesses in seeking compensation for pain and suffering — are more compelling than the argument that big business needs more money to trickle down on the rest of us.