Lawmakers left town without taking action on some big ticket items such as pension reform and gaming expansion but kicking the can is really nothing new for the Illinois General Assembly. After all, lawmakers have been kicking the can when it comes to lawsuit reform for many years and this legislative session was no exception.
Illinois is ranked as the nation’s fifth-worst state for legal fairness according to the respected research company Harris Interactive. While surrounding states such as Wisconsin and Iowa have taken steps to implement lawsuit reforms, the leadership in the House and the Senate refuses to even allow lawsuit reforms to get a vote.
Approving meaningful reforms would send a message to job creators that Illinois is serious about job growth. The current unemployment rate in Illinois is 9.3 percent. Only Nevada has a higher unemployment rate than Illinois. The current policies coming from Springfield are clearly not working.
The real world consequences of failing to enact meaningful lawsuit reforms are higher unemployment and increased difficulties in attracting new business opportunities to Illinois. Personal injury lawyers dismiss the connection between the economy and lawsuit abuse but their view defies logic. Money businesses spend fighting frivolous and unnecessary litigation is money that could be spent on adding new employees and growing the business. Lawsuit abuse slows economic growth.
It is time lawmakers stopped ignoring the obvious and enact meaningful lawsuit reforms and create an environment to attract more jobs – not more lawsuits.