By January 13, 2015 Read More →

Legal reform on W.Va. GOP’s legislative agenda

Charleston Gazette photo by Lawrence Pierce Sens. Bill Cole, R-Mercer; Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson; Daniel Hall, R-Wyoming; and Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall speak at The Associated Press’ 2015 Legislative Lookahead event Monday.

Charleston Gazette photo by Lawrence Pierce
Sens. Bill Cole, R-Mercer; Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson; Daniel Hall, R-Wyoming; and Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall speak at The Associated Press’ 2015 Legislative Lookahead event Monday.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Incoming West Virginia Senate leaders gave a glimpse into their legislative agenda Monday, saying they plan to push through bills that reform the state’s legal system, but they expect to put off comprehensive tax reform measures until next year.

Senate President-to-be Bill Cole, R-Mercer, said lawmakers’ tort reform package would include restrictions on class-action lawsuits and jury awards.

On Wednesday, Republicans will gain control of the Senate and House of Delegates for the first time in more than 80 years.

“The ‘sue and settle’ mentality is brutal on businesses,” Cole said during the West Virginia Associated Press Legislative Lookahead event in Charleston. “We have a reputation for offering up the big [lawsuit] settlements.”

West Virginia’s reputation as a “judicial hellhole” scares away businesses that want to bring jobs to the state, Cole said.

“I’m not mad at the trial attorneys,” he said. “We’re going to bring a whole lot more businesses and a whole lot more people to this state and give those attorneys a whole lot more things to do…

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