Ann Maher Nov. 29, 2014, 6:00pm

The head of a civil justice reform group expressed disappointment that the state legislature adjourned for the season without taking up lawsuit reform proposals.

“Legislative leaders once again failed to pass even one of the several common sense lawsuit reform bills that were proposed and that would have restored fairness to Illinois courts and helped to create new jobs rather than new lawsuits,” said Travis Akin, executive director of Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch.

One of the venue reform measures, sponsored by State Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon), would have limited the filing of civil lawsuits to where the incident occurred or where the plaintiff lives was ignored. House Bill 3782, which was introduced last December, had been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, but was re-referred in March to the Rules Committee where bills go to die.

Akin correlates the state's legal climate to the job climate.

“The Land of Lincoln should be a destination for jobs and opportunities, but sadly our legislative leaders continue to ignore the need for lawsuit reform and other needed reforms to improve the state’s jobs climate," he said. "It is time to change the narrative in Illinois. If Illinois’ economy is growing to grow; the leaders in the House and Senate need to follow the lead of surrounding states and make lawsuit reform a priority.”

Akin has stated that surrounding states such as Wisconsin and Indiana have made lawsuit reform a priority. He said that as a result, Wisconsin has cut taxes by more than $500 million and Indiana also cut the state’s individual tax rate and by 2017, the Indiana individual tax rate is scheduled to go down to 3.23 percent.

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