The Mississippi House of Representatives passed HB 481 this week. Here is the bill.
The bill legislatively abrogates the collateral source rule.
The purpose of the bill is to kill what’s left of the plaintiff’s bar in Mississippi. Kill the plaintiff’s bar and you kill a shrinking, but reliable, source of campaign contributions for Democratic candidates.
To see who is behind bills like these, you need to see who spends the most on influencing legislation through lobbying activities. Here is page that identifies the top spenders nationally in 2016. The U.S. Chamber leads the way with a total of $103 million–$40 million more than the next highest spender. The Chamber is followed by a bunch of companies that help fund the Chamber.
Lobbying expenditures is on of the reasons I support an appointed judiciary–particularly at the appellate court level. Let me be clear because this always comes up in the comments: I’m not saying appointing judges would remove the politics from the process. It would reduce it–significantly in my opinion.
Yes, there is a lot of backroom intrigue and gossip when it comes to who will get a prime appointment. So? If I’m not close friends with the candidates, does it really matter to me if one person gets appointed over another person when they would both be fine judges? No, it doesn’t. I just want a judge who is always trying hard to be fair and doesn’t have to look over his/her shoulder every time they rule.
They appoint federal judges in Mississippi and most lawyers seem to like them. A federal district judge with a lifetime appointment does not have to worry about an angry Chamber coming after his or her job in the next election. In contrast, a moderate ruling state court judge can face a business funded opponent. Why would the Chamber want a down the middle moderate judge when they could elect one more to their liking?
The Chamber is a business in itself. It’s going to continue to raise and spend money on lobbyists and elections because that’s what it’s for.
More tort reform is on the way. They aren’t ever going to stop trying to pass more. The only hope to completely eliminating the civil justice system for everyone except big business is an independent judiciary.