NFIB Wins Big in Oregon Legislature

Date: May 03, 2016

A bill that would have raised insurance premiums dies in the Senate, following pressure from NFIB.

NFIB Wins Big in Oregon Legislature

Oregon small business owners may have faced a difficult legislative session, but
they’re not without their own key victories in the ring.

—legislation that would have increased the cap on noneconomic
damages in a lawsuit from $500,000 to $1.5 million—was successfully
in the Senate Judiciary Committee, thanks in large part to
the efforts of NFIB and its partners.

Heavy increases in liability insurance for small businesses
would most likely be the consequence of such a bill—unintended or otherwise.

Under current law, economic damages remain uncapped because
they are quantifiable. For example, a loss of future earnings is something that
experts can calculate objectively. However, noneconomic damages, like pain and
suffering, are much harder to judge with impartiality, especially in cases
where a death of a loved one has occurred.

Trial lawyers—who pushed hard for the bill—would have been
one of the main beneficiaries had it passed, receiving huge pay increases based
on the percentage of their clients’ total award. But small business owners
would have felt the brunt of the burden.

“This bill would have likely caused medical liability
insurance (and other commercial liability insurance) to skyrocket—hurting small
businesses who are already struggling to keep up with spiking health insurance
premiums,” said NFIB/Oregon State Director Anthony Smith. “NFIB lobbied hard on
this issue with our coalition partners—we successfully reached out to enough
senators that we were able to deny this bill a floor vote in the Senate.”

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