Needed tort reform back on the agenda

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 17, 2004

The issue of tort reform has made a welcome return to the state Legislature this week.

Senators are now debating a bill that would cap pain and suffering damage awards at $250,000, half the amount allowed by legislation passed just more than a year ago.

The legislation would also set up a review panel that could help weed out frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits.

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Trial lawyers argue that state lawmakers haven’t given the previous legislation time to work, but these changes are just a continuation of what tort reform supporters wanted to do the first time around.

We need more effective tort reform in Mississippi, a state branded so dangerous the U.S. Chamber of Commerce began warning businesses not to locate here two years ago.

We need more effective medical malpractice reform in a state that sees rural areas losing their doctors on a routine basis simply because those physicians can’t afford insurance.

Mississippi must move forward; we cannot allow ourselves to languish and miss critical necessities such as economic development and health care thanks to pointless lawsuits designed to rob our state and give money to trial lawyers.

We’re glad to see new Gov. Haley Barbour supporting this issue.

We applaud lawmakers for pursuing further civil justice reform, and we urge legislators to pass this needed bill.