More than three-quarters of all small business owners in America are concerned that they might be the target of an unjustifiable lawsuit. Every U.S. citizen pays a “lawsuit tax” of roughly $900 every year, and the cost of U.S. tort liability is more than twice the average cost in other industrialized countries. The state legislature is currently considering SJR 8, which would allow the people to add a tort-reform amendment to our state constitution. SJR 8, if passed, will advance several public policy goals. Namely, it will:
- Protect consumers from being overcharged by attorneys;
- Attract health-care professionals to Arkansas;
- Bring our court system into the American mainstream; and
- Let our legislature pass legal reforms which will advance Arkansas’s economy.
The proposed amendment accomplishes these goals in several ways: it regulates attorney contingency fees, punitive damages, and non-economic damages. It would also restore rulemaking power over the civil justice system to the Arkansas General Assembly.
One analysis found that over $112 billion came into Texas’s economy every year because of tort reform and created an additional 499,000 jobs in the state. To understand how the proposed constitutional amendment would bring more jobs and investment into Arkansas’s economy, as well as improve health care access in our state, have a look at the newest public policy paper from the Advance Arkansas Institute.