2008 Regular Session . April 25, 2008
Gear Up for the Coming Week
We are headed into an extremely busy week at the Capitol. Daubert issues, loser pay and medical malpractice issues relating to patient care are among the top issues to watch.
On Monday, April 28, HB 70 by Rep. Greg Cromer is up for a vote on the House floor when the House convenes at 2 p.m. This bill is heavily pushed by nursing homes, hospitals and their insurance trust funds. The bill brings negligent credentialing, monitoring, transporting, supervising and providing daily care services to patients under the scope of the Med Mal Act. LAJ has fought similar bills for the past three years. Contact representatives immediately and ask them to oppose this bill.
Also on Monday, bills of interest to family law practitioners will be up in House Civil Law and Procedure Committee. A schedule and list of specific bills were emailed earlier this week to the LAJ Family Law Section list server.
Now turn your attention to Tuesday, April 29, and hearings in two key committees.
Senate Judiciary A
Senate Judiciary A committee will hear two important bills. SB 307 prohibits any recovery for loss of enjoyment of life as an element of damages apart from pain and suffering. SB 308 makes Daubert hearings mandatory, expansive in scope and onerous on plaintiffs and the courts. Both of these bills are sponsored by Sen. Jack Donahue. Both are components of a legislative agenda overtly supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many of its national affiliates.
Earlier this week, representatives of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its Institute for Legal Reform came to Baton Rouge to hold a press conference. They released a report that attacks Louisiana's courts as the second-worst in the nation and unfriendly to businesses. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue told news reporters that Louisiana needs more legal reform in order to get more businesses to locate here. The basis of their report is a survey of corporate attorneys who represent companies with assets of at least $100 million. Their message will hit legislators hard this week. You'll want to get in touch now with members of the committee and your senator about these bills that are of concern to you.
Also in Senate Jud A will be two med mal bills by Sen. Mike Michot. SB 509 is a duplicate of HB 70, which is being heard Monday on the House floor (see paragraph 2 above). SB 652 makes numerous changes to the private Med Mal Act to benefit the PCF at the patient's expense. Contact Jud A committee members and your senator now to voice oppostion to these bills.
Sen. Bob Kostelka has SB 679 that targets prescription in employment discrimination lawsuits.
House Civil Law and Procedure
Focus also on the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee on Tuesday. Scheduled for hearing is HB 288, a "loser pay" bill by Rep. Sam Little. Contact members of House Civil Law and Procedure and your own elected representative about the harmful effects of this bill.
Contacts, Contacts, Contacts
The House adjourned this afternoon and the Senate let out yesterday, so this weekend would be a good time to get in touch with your representative and senator on their home turf. Your contacts with legislators are making a difference. We are continuing to hear that LAJ Lobby Day earlier this week was very productive. Be sure to maintain contact with your legislators during the coming week and beyond.
Reminder: LAJ Lobby Day No. 2
Mark Tuesday, May 13, on your calendar to attend LAJ's second Lobby Day of the session, scheduled by popular request of members who attended and LAJ leadership. If you couldn't attend the first, don't miss out on Lobby Day on the 13th.
Stay in Touch
Did you know that you can listen to live broadcasts of some committee hearings? Go to the Web portal of the Louisiana State Legislature to see which proceedings are broadcast and get instructions on how to tune in. Using this same link, you can also get information on how to contact your legislators, access information about bills, check committee schedules and more.