A newly released poll from the American Tort Reform Association and the grassroots Sick of Lawsuits campaign shows a majority of voters believe lawsuits hurt economic growth.

The poll, which surveyed 1,013 U.S. registered voters and was conducted by Luce Research from July 11-19, 2012, shows that 89 percent of American voters call lawsuit abuse a "problem" – a view that cuts across party lines as 94 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of Independents and 86 percent of Democrats all say it's a problem.

Another key finding in the survey shows that 78 percent of the respondents agree, "Enacting lawsuit reform is an important part of improving the U.S. business environment and attracting and keeping jobs."

Clearly, voters understand that we have a lawsuit abuse problem and that it hurts our economy. The next step is to do something about it. Voters going to the polls in November need to make sure the people seeking office support needed lawsuit reforms.

While voters all across the country seem to understand that lawsuit abuse is a problem, the reality is that lawsuit abuse is not evenly spread across the country. Illinois is ranked the sixth worst state for legal fairness, according to a report from the respected Harris polling company. Other Midwest states such as Wisconsin and Minnesota have improved their legal climates by approving legal reforms, but Illinois lawmakers continue to ignore the state's litigation problems.

Like anything, admitting there is a problem is the first step but here in Illinois we have to go beyond that first step and begin to take action. We have to hold our elected leaders accountable. The time has come to take a stand and make sure the people representing us share our concerns about the abuse of our courts.

A clear majority of the American people understand how lawsuit abuse hurts our culture and our economy. In traveling the state and talking to community leaders and small business owners, the results of this survey are consistent with what people from communities all across the state are saying about the issue of lawsuit abuse.

People get it. They may never have been sued but they understand that if Illinois is going to get on the right track economically, then lawmakers need to enact meaningful lawsuit reforms sooner rather than later.

If Illinois is going to create jobs and not more lawsuits, then voters have to pay attention to local legislative and judicial elections and hold their elected officials accountable. If Illinois is going to get on the right track economically, then lawmakers need to enact meaningful lawsuit reform and the only way they will do so is if they hear from the 90 percent of Americans who understand the severity of the lawsuit abuse problem in Illinois and throughout the nation.

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