Governor vetoes hotly contested law over disputes it would really lower car insurance
BATON ROUGE - Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed the long-discussed state legislation that debated whether stricter regulation of lawsuits would lower insurance rates in the state.
Friday, the governor announced he vetoed SB 418 because it was, he said, "neither a compromise nor a mandate to decrease auto insurance rates in Louisiana. Not a single insurance company testified [during legislative hearings] that SB 418 would reduce rates," the governor said in a statement.
The bill by Republican Sen. Kirk Talbot of River Ridge was a “tort reform” effort and was a priority of business lobbying groups. In earlier hearings at the capitol, lawmakers had agreed to change the rules for lawsuits over car wrecks, aiming to limit damage claims against insurance companies and other businesses. The proposal would require use of jury trials more frequently, so lawyers had to argue damage claims to more people than a single judge; cap certain damages that can be awarded; limit when insurance companies can be sued directly; and increase the time accident victims can file lawsuits to provide more time for settlement negotiations.
Supporters argued the law would lower car insurance rates, which are second-highest in the nation. Opponents fought back, changes would keep people from getting money needed to cover their medical bills and could drive up costs for courts.
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