Legislative report June 1

Today is the final day of the legislative session and lawmakers are poised to approve a tort reform bill that seeks to reduce auto insurance rates by at least 10-percent. A key component of the bill is lowering the jury threshold from 50-thousand to five thousand dollars. Supporters say that will result in cases involving car crashes being settled at a more reasonable amount. Before the bill passed in the House, freshman Representative Larry Frieman from Abita Springs says when he campaigned, voters complained about our high rates and this measure is our best vehicle to lowering premiums
Cut 16 (07) “…to do it”
Governor Edwards does not support this proposal and could veto the measure, but U-L Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says the votes are there to override the veto and lawmakers are staying in Baton Rouge for a special session that begins at 6:01 tonight…
cut 12 (08) “…in session”

The other big issue in the regular session, a proposal to prevent local parishes from pursuing litigation against oil and gas companies for damaging the state’s coast line did not make it through the process. Louisiana Oil and Gas Association President Gifford Briggs says failing to pass this legislation will cost the state thousands of potential new jobs because oil companies will refuse to invest here…
cut 9 (11) “…lost revenue”
But St. Bernard President Guy McInnis says the oil and gas industry has to pay for the damage they’ve done to the coast…
cut 11 (05) “…wetland.
Supporters of the bill say they will bring the issue back to the legislature next year.