Missouri State Senator Dan Hegeman represents parts of northern Clay County. This is his December 12, 2016 email newsletter. For more information on our Opinion Section and why we publish these updates from legislators please click HERE.
Bringing meaningful tort reform to the Show-Me State has been a goal of business-minded lawmakers for years now. Although we achieved some success with 2015’s Senate Bill 239, which reinstated caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, much more needs to be accomplished if we are truly going to restore balance to our state’s legal system. That is why the Senate Majority Caucus has made passing significant tort reform legislation a major priority for the 2017 legislative session.
For far too long, job growth and economic development in Missouri has suffered — bogged down by a civil legal system that invites costly and frivolous lawsuits. Faced with an unbalanced legal system, new businesses are choosing states with more business-friendly legal climates to open up shop or expand their business. Perhaps even worse, businesses that already call Missouri home have cited Missouri’s legal climate and lack of tort reform as a significant barrier to expansion or a reason why they have looked to other states. Clearly, something has to change.
Over the last several sessions, my colleagues and I demonstrated how serious we are about tort reform when we successfully passed a handful of tort reform measures and heavily debated others. Unfortunately, the bills we passed were ultimately vetoed by the governor, continuing Missouri’s status as one of the worst business legal climates in the country.
A key component to fixing Missouri’s lackluster business climate is bringing fairness and reason back into our civil legal system. For too long in Missouri, the deck has been stacked against the business owner and the job creator, but I am hopeful that 2017 will be the year we really jump-start job growth in Missouri and begin turning our economy around.
As always, please feel free to call, email, or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is [email protected] and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.