Bill filing began today for the 2015 legislative session.
* TORT REFORM: First in the hopper is a proposed constitutional amendment by the Chamber of Commerce’s in -house man, Sen. Eddie Joe Williams. It is the shell form of another attempt by Williams to get approval of an amendment to make it harder to win damage lawsuits in a state not exactly known for runaway juries. Williams commented ruefully the other day about heavy Democratic represenation on the committee he chairs that will recommend constitutional amendments. Four of the eight members are Democrats and likely somewhat less enthusiastic about insulating corporations from lawsuits by injured people. But with a 24-person majority in the Senate, much is possible.
* ETHICS: Rep. Warwick Sabin filed the first piece of legislation (also sponsored by Sen. Jon Woods), another shell bill to address ethics laws. This will probably be the enabling legislation to clear Ethics Commission codification of Issue 3, the ethics amendment approved by voters. It could further clarify that amendment to make it even stronger, by the way, such as by establishing felony penalties for the most severe violations and for expanding the corporate contrbution ban to PACs. I can dream, can’t I?