Gov. Brad Henry’ spokesperson is misrepresenting Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee’s position on Henry’s watered-down lawsuit reform bill.
Henry’s office erroneously claimed Thursday that Coffee had previously endorsed the legislative language contained in Senate Bill 914, which died in the Senate Thursday when Senate Democrat leaders did not bring it up for a vote because of bipartisan opposition to the bill.
“I have never endorsed or supported this legislative language, and the governor knows it. His office is trying to put up a smokescreen to mask Gov. Henry’s inability to overcome the bipartisan opposition to his watered-down bill,” said Coffee, R-Oklahoma City.
Coffee also criticized the governor and Senate leaders for placing exactly the same language in SB 914 as was contained in the last year’s bill, authored by then-Speaker Larry Adair.
“They didn’t change one jot or tittle from the Democrat leadership’s bill that was introduced in the House last year despite the hundreds of hours of testimony we heard later. This shows a real disdain by the governor and Senate Democrats for the testimony by Oklahomans about the burden of lawsuits on our state,” Coffee said.
Coffee also said Democrats never sought to work out a compromise with Republicans.
“Despite warnings to the Democrat leadership that Senate Republicans could not support the bill as drafted, neither Gov. Henry nor the Senate leadership sought to reach a bipartisan compromise with Senate Republicans.
“They never asked what changes could be made to gain Republican support for the bill, so it shows they were not serious about a bipartisan solution. The governor said it was ‘my-way-or-the-highway’ and he got the highway,” Coffee stated.