Claremore Daily Progress

State/Nation

July 13, 2013

Gov. Fallin sees special session as possibility

TULSA —

Gov. Mary Fallin told a chamber of commerce gathering in northeastern Oklahoma that a special legislative session is possible to address lawsuit reform and other issues.

The Tulsa World reports that Fallin said during the speech Friday to the Tulsa Regional Chamber that she has spoken with House Speaker T.W. Shannon and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman about a possible special session on lawsuit reform.

In June, The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that a 2009 law on civil lawsuits violated the state Constitution's prohibition against bills containing more than one subject.

"A special session is an option I am looking at," Fallin said in response to an audience question at the luncheon. "I've talked to the speaker and the pro tem about the possibility of a special session to fix what I consider one of our most important pieces of legislation."

The 2009 law redefined what constitutes a frivolous lawsuit and strengthening summary judgment rules, making it easier for a judge to dismiss a lawsuit that has no merit.

The bill also changed joint and individual liability guidelines to alter so-called "deep pocket" rules that had allowed an injured person to recover all damages from any defendant regardless of their individual share of liability. The measure also capped pain and suffering damages at $400,000, but allowed a judge or jury to waive the cap in cases of gross negligence or catastrophic injury.

Business groups have said the state court's ruling is a blow to business interests.

"There may be some other issues that we might look at in special session as the year goes along if there are other challenges, possibly in workers compensation reform, the tax cuts and fixing the Capitol."

This year's regular session produced a worker compensation bill that is being challenged and a bill combining a reduction in the state income tax rate with money to pay for repairs to the Capitol building that some believe violates the same single-subject rule cited by the Supreme Court in last month's ruling on lawsuit reform.

Fallin told reporters afterward that she has not ruled out the possibility of reducing a set of tax breaks for horizontal gas drilling. The incentives have been widely criticized by some as unfair and unnecessary, and earlier this week Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger said they should be re-examined.

"It's important we sit down with the industry and discuss this," Fallin said. "The question is, what's fair to everybody?"

Fallin's appearance, an annual event for the governor, drew an estimated 1,000 guests, including U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, state Superintendent Janet Barresi, state Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones and more than a dozen state legislators.

 

1
Text Only
State/Nation
  • Gas prices continue falling in Oklahoma

    AAA Oklahoma says gas prices continue to drop in the state as demand nationwide drops below 9 million barrels per day.

    July 29, 2014

  • Perry: Texas plans to send 1,000 guardsmen to border

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry plans to deploy as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to South Texas to bolster security along the Mexico border, a local lawmaker confirmed Monday.

    July 21, 2014

  • NASA renames building for Neil Armstrong

    NASA has honored one of its most famous astronauts by renaming a key building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

    July 21, 2014

  • New arrivals worry some in the Oklahoma panhandle

    A family who says they were excommunicated from Warren Jeffs' polygamous sect has moved to a small city located in the Oklahoma Panhandle, raising concerns among some residents.

    July 20, 2014

  • Celebrate 45 years since man's first steps on the moon

    Now's the time to get moonstruck.

    Forty-five years ago Sunday, Apollo 11's Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on another world. Armstrong's "one small step ... one giant leap" on the dusty lunar surface July 20, 1969, still stirs hearts.

    July 20, 2014

  • US outlines case against Russia on downed plane

    Video of a rocket launcher, one surface-to-air missile missing, leaving the likely launch site. Imagery showing the firing. Calls claiming credit for the strike. Recordings said to reveal a cover-up at the crash site.

    July 20, 2014

  • Oklahoma Capitol renovation project previewed

    State officials have previewed preliminary plans for renovating the century-old Oklahoma State Capitol amid a display of artifacts from groundbreaking ceremonies for the structure.

    July 17, 2014

  • House passes tax breaks to boost charitable giving

    The House passed a package of tax breaks Thursday designed to boost charitable donations by seniors, private foundations and procrastinators.

    One provision provides tax breaks to people over 70 who make donations from their individual retirement accounts. Another reduces excise taxes on private charitable foundations.

    July 17, 2014

  • Should online accounts die when you die?

    Should your emails, web albums and other online accounts die when you do? Or should you be able to pass them down to a family member much as you would a house or a box of letters?

    July 17, 2014

  • Obama, Putin discuss Malaysia Plane incident

    The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama have discussed the Malaysia Airlines plane incident over eastern Ukraine.

    July 17, 2014