Alvarado files state Constitutional amendment to allow tort reform

01/09/2018 08:21 PM

FRANKFORT — One of the Senate’s top priorities this year will be a Constitutional amendment which allows lawmakers to address tort reform.

Senate Bill 2 was filed by Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, a physician, who said that the legislation would allow the General Assembly to eventually set limits on liability claims.

The Winchester Republican said he would talk with each member in the upper chamber in an effort to reach a Constitutional majority.

“Once it’s in the House it’s a much more different venture — we still have a lot of unknowns as to what that count would look like,” he said. “Again, this isn’t necessarily setting caps per-say, but this gives the General Assembly the authority to set something, and get away from the Judicial Branch which, frankly, in my opinion, is probably not taken this the way most people would mostly want to have done.”

With an uncertain path in the Republican super majority that is the House of Representatives, there is still the full Senate to contend with, and Senate Minority Floor Leader Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, who said the legislation would equate a loss of rights for everyone in the commonwealth.

Jones said that the legislature, which has not been able to deal with billions in under funding to the pension systems, should not be in charge of tort reform for that very reason.

“Keep in mind the Republicans that have been advocating this want to remove protections in Kentucky’s Constitution that allow jury’s to determine if someone is injured or their property is damaged how much they should be compensated,” Jones said.

If passed by the General Assembly the amendment would then appear on the Nov. ballot for ratification by voters in Kentucky.

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