Lawmakers on their way out often find themselves making votes they would never even consider making when they were looking at running for re-election. It was lame duck lawmakers, after all, who carried the water for the 67 percent income tax increase approved in the dead of night during the lame duck session of 2011.
There are 41 legislators in the House and the Senate who will not be returning for terms beginning in 2013. With so many legislators leaving, there has been widespread speculation that the lame duck session could be a flurry of activity on controversial issues such as pension reform and gaming expansion.
But why can’t legislators change the typical narrative for lame duck sessions? Instead of holding their noses and voting for imperfect legislation – lame duck legislators could help improve the Illinois economy by pushing for lawsuit reform.
We desperately need to change the direction our state is headed. Lawsuit reform is not a magic bullet for job growth but it is a place to start. The reality is that companies look to locate or expand their businesses in places where the legal system is fair. A new study released from the highly respected survey company Harris Interactive ranked Illinois’ lawsuit climate the fifth-worst in the country and ranked Cook County the nation’s worst local jurisdiction for legal fairness and ranked Madison County the sixth-most unfair and unreasonable jurisdiction in the country.
Illinois’ lawsuit climate ranked beneath every bordering state including: Indiana (14), Iowa (10), Kentucky (38), Missouri (34), and Wisconsin (15).
Illinois’s poor legal climate is hurting the ability of the state to attract new jobs and opportunities. What we need is more jobs – not more lawsuits.