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Veto Override of Liability Lawsuit Legislation Fails

May 13, 2004
By: Missy Shelton
State Capital Bureau

The House failed to override the governor's veto of a bill limiting liability lawsuits.

Missy Shelton reports.

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The proposal would've limited where lawsuits can filed, who can be sued and how much juries can award to victims for pain and suffering.

Bill supporters say by making these changes, the cost of malpractice insurance will go down for doctors.

The bill sponsor, Republican Representative Richard Byrd says the skyrocketing insurance rates are driving doctors out of Missouri.

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But the top Democrat in the House Rick Johnson argued malpractice lawsuits are not driving up the cost of insurance.

He says profit hungry insurance companies are choosing to raise rates.

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Some Republicans like Representative Brian Pratt refute the claim that insurance companies in Missouri are making huge profits.

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During debate on the motion to override the veto, the House got quiet when Republican Representative Vicki Schneider stood and talked about the death of her mother last year.

She blames doctors for failing to catch the cancer that eventually killed her mother.

Though Schneider says money will never bring back her mother, she can't support a bill that limits compensation for victims and their families.

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When he vetoed the bill, Democratic Governor Bob Holden said the bill failed to include any meaningful regulations on the insurance industry.

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