Rules change on amendment: No movement today | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Rules change on amendment: No movement today

Posted By on Thu, Feb 12, 2015 at 1:53 PM

No action today in the Senate on an effort by the nursing home lobby and other supporters of "tort reform" to change the procedural rules to clear the way for a constitutional amendment to make it harder and less rewarding to sue for damages.

As I noted yesterday, there's been a holdup of Senate-approved rules for the joint committee process that was established two years by the House and Senate to come to a consensus on three proposed constitutional amendments for the 2016 election ballot.

The joint rules require a two-thirds vote to pull a measure out of committee for approval if an amendment can't get the majority vote required from both the Senate and House contingents. Problems are expected on tort reform because four of the eight Senate committee members are Democrats and believed disinclined to back the nursing home/chamber of commerce interests in capping lawsuit damages or stripping the Supreme Court of civil lawsuit rulemaking authority.

If there are no joint rules approved, there will be no joint committee on amendments. Then the old process would apply. The House and Senate would individually approve three amendments. Only those approved by both chambers could go to the ballot. But, if the Senate committee wouldn't approve a tort reform measure, the Republican-controlled Senate could, by a simply majority vote, pull the measure from a regular committee, as opposed to a joint committee.

This is considered a violation of custom to avoid the committee system, but it is sometimes done when needs demand. And the chamber of commerce and nursing homes are demanding.

A couple of hanging questions:

* Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson's opposition to tort reform measures in 2013 killed a ballot initiative last go-round. His position this time isn't yet clear.

* The Democrats carry little weight, but they still have enough votes to muster a blockade to appropriation bills. Will they finally decide playing nice doesn't produce much and use that leverage against power plays such as this one?

Lobbying is fierce.

I believe a clearer idea of what law changes are desired will be necessary before the rules dispute is resolved.

Tags: , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • North Little Rock mayor shows downtown plaza plan

    North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith is presenting a plan to the City Council tonight for a downtown plaza meant to augment planned private developments and further enhanced downtown as a destination.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • Attorney general asks for continued secrecy on execution drugs

    As expected, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has asked the Arknasas Supreme Court for an "emergency stay" of a lower court ruling that the Correction Department must produce labels from one of the drugs used in executions.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • Groups seek end to commercial collection of wild turtles

    Several environmental organizations to end commercial turtle collection in Arkansas.The harvests (more than 126,000 turtles from 2014 to 2016) are not sustainable and that, in turn, is damaging to ecosystems, the groups said.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016
  • Arkansan on Obama's latest commutation list

    President Obama today announced commutations of the sentences of 111 federal prisoners, including one from Arkansas.
    • Aug 30, 2016
  • Another Republican miracle-working governor

    Great piece in Washington Post on the budget crisis in Louisiana. Big tax cuts and corporate welfare will do that to a state, particularly to a state whose previous governor, Republican Bobby Jindal, refused to join the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion. There's a lesson there for Arkansas.
    • Mar 4, 2016

Most Shared

  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation