State Capitol, Oklahoma City – A letter to national trial lawyers by State Senator Stratton Taylor, D-Claremore, that advertised Oklahoma as a great place to file lawsuits is a major blow to the state’s job recruitment efforts, Republican legislative leaders said today.
Taylor’s letter received some unwanted national attention in a December 19 editorial in the Wall Street Journal, which was highly critical of Oklahoma’s pro-lawyer tort (lawsuit) system.
“This is a huge setback to everyone who is trying to sell Oklahoma as a great place to locate or expand a business,” said Senate Republican Leader James A. Williamson, R-Tulsa. “Senator Taylor’s letter may have the effect of undoing almost every bit of progress we’ve made in reshaping Oklahoma’s business image over the past decade.”
But Taylor’s letter and the Journal editorial will likely be a boon for Texas, which the Journal praised for its recent passage of one of the nation’s most far-reaching tort reform programs.
“It is critical that Oklahoma match the lawsuit reform Texas has done, if not surpass it, if we want Oklahoma to stay in the hunt for new jobs and new businesses. Otherwise, we’ll continue to export businesses and jobs from Oklahoma,” stated Senator Scott Pruitt, R-Broken Arrow.
“It is time for Governor Henry and legislative Democrats to choose whether they are going to be for jobs and economic growth, or whether they are going to continue to block serious lawsuit reform efforts opposed by the trial lawyers,” said Senator Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City.
Without significant lawsuit reform, Oklahomans will continue to face a higher cost of doing business – and that will mean fewer jobs and higher prices for goods and services for the people of Oklahoma.