Thursday, May 13, 2004


(Jackson, Miss.) -- Governor Haley Barbour is standing by his pledge to call lawmakers back to the Capitol since the House of Representatives failed to address lawsuit abuse during their Regular Session. Today he called a Special Session to address tort reform, which will convene at 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 19, 2004. Governor Barbour is also including the voter identification issue in the Special Session agenda.

"I would have preferred for comprehensive tort reform to have been achieved during the Regular Session," Governor Barbour said. "Since it was not, this Special Session became necessary.” While the Senate has been strongly supportive of tort reform, the House has not been allowed to vote on it.

“There is strong support in the House for tort reform. Unfortunately, they never got a chance to vote on it. Support for tort reform cuts across party lines,” said Governor Barbour. “It’s time to get tort reform done.”

“Every business that wants to come to Mississippi faces a lawsuit abuse tax. Businesses have to factor in the cost of lawsuit abuse. We need to make it easier, not harder, for businesses to come to Mississippi and for businesses already here to be able to operate on a level playing field,” said Barbour. “Lawsuit abuse drives the cost of doing business to intolerably high levels, and every small business in our state is one lawsuit away from bankruptcy.”

Reforms that were part of the previous tort reform legislation passed three times by the Senate included improvement in the areas of venue, innocent seller, caps on non-economic damages, revisions in the punitive damages cap, premises liability as well as personal liability and medical liability reform.

Governor Barbour said the Voter ID issue needs to be resolved. While the Senate passed a comprehensive Voter ID bill, the House proposed exempting anyone born before 1940

from showing identification when voting. Governor Barbour said this leaves a large unnecessary loophole. “Requiring every voter to show a driver's license or other identification would help ensure integrity in elections,” said Governor Barbour. “


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Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139 Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: 601.359.3150 Fax: 601.359.3741