Today, I am calling on all Republicans to support a new tort reform bill, the South Carolina Fairness in Civil Justice Act, strong legislation that the House has passed and awaits action in the Senate. In doing that, the General Assembly and Gov. Nikki Haley will go a long way in making our state more business friendly and kick-start our economic recovery.
With the passage of a medical tort reform law in 2005, we began down the path of eliminating frivolous lawsuits from our state’s court system and took a bite out of skyrocketing malpractice insurance rates that were forcing good doctors out of their practice. This bill is the comprehensive solution businesses have needed for some time. Between 2004 and 2009, South Carolina dropped from 10th to 43rd in the nation when it comes to workers’ compensation premiums.
And that’s just the start. Not too long ago, our state was ranked 43rd in lawsuit climate by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Numerous groups have analyzed where South Carolina is and what has been done to correct the problem, placing our state on the knife’s edge between being a solid location to start, move or run a company and a place where the atmosphere is oppressive to conduct business. In a time when every job is precious, we can’t allow one to go elsewhere, be cut or not created because of legislative inaction.
Unfortunately, the trial lawyer lobbying machine is already in full swing trying to weaken this bill. Language has been added in the state Senate that weakens the bill, and that cannot be allowed to stand. We need to be in the business of making our state more business friendly, not more trial lawyer friendly.
We must stand up and fight for real tort reform, the kind that has passed the House, and is being advocated by Gov. Haley, Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler, and Sen. Larry Martin. Call your Republican Senators today, and tell them to stand strong for strong tort reform!