State Capitol News
4:45 pm
Sat December 5, 2009

Lawmaker pushing for limits on jury awards

Phoenix, AZ – A veteran state senator is making a new push to ask voters to let
lawmakers put limits on jury awards.

Arizona is one of a handful of states where the constitution bars
legislators from imposing caps. Sen. Jack Harper said he believes
the upcoming session could be the last time in years that there
are sufficient supporters in the Senate to refer the issue to
voters. He said it's important from a business perspective to let
lawmakers decide how much is appropriate for victims. Harper said
that has proven to be true elsewhere, especially in the medical
field.

"Texas passed a cap or something to cap damages. And I understand
doctors are just flocking there, a phenomenal effect for their
medical community."

Harper said lawmakers can't even consider that here unless and
until voters repeal the constitutional ban on limits. But JoJene
Mills of the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association said state
residents don't want what Harper is offering as shown by defeats
of similar measures three times before.

"Now I guess we're going to try it again at a time when, more
than ever, we need protections from pharmaceutical companies,
from drunk drivers, from product manufacturers that are selling
dangerous products in the U.S."

Harper acknoweldged the prior defeats but said -- quote -- the
voting mood of the public changes over the course of time.