Legal Reform Can Be Bipartisan

Tom Scott
Executive Director, California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

No matter which way this election goes in California and the rest of the nation, there will always be one constant: if we are truly going to tackle major issues like legal reform we are going to have to work together. While it can be difficult, it can be done and does not require leaders to abandon their core principles.

We saw this happen in California this past year. SB 1186, related to ADA reform, was a bipartisan measure authored by State Senators Darrell Steinberg and Bob Dutton. We also saw this with the broad bipartisan support for Assemblyman Ricardo Lara’s AB 2274, which made sure that abusive lawsuits by vexatious litigants do not go unchecked.

We saw Governor Jerry Brown veto bills like AB 2346 by Assemblywoman Betsy Butler. This bill would have opened the floodgates to more lawsuits at a time when our courts are absorbing enormous cuts. Overall, 2012 was a good year of working together to ensure California is not generating more lawsuits. Instead, we are slowly trying to improve our legal climate so more jobs can be created.

A friend of mine recently pointed out that back in the mid-1990s former U.S. Senator George McGovern and Jack Kemp teamed up to talk about the impact of frivolous lawsuits. They created an ad that was not seen by very many people, but the impact of it was far reaching.

To me it is a true commentary on leadership – two great Americans coming together on an issue that they saw impacting American business and the creation of jobs. We have seen McGovern and Kemp do it, and in California that State Senators like Darrell Steinberg and Bob Dutton and Assemblymembers like Ricardo Lara, Richard Pan and Joan Buchanan can also cross the aisle to support legal reform.

I hope that at the national level we will see continued pushes for ADA reform from U.S. Senator Feinstein and Congressman Dan Lungren. It can happen. Let’s continue our bipartisan legal reform efforts into 2013. It is about job creation and improving our economy. I know that George McGovern and Jack Kemp would be applauding all the way.

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