Sunday, November 29, 2015

It's Coming to Pass

GOP policies on lawsuits and school vouchers are rolling through the Legislature.

It's Coming to Pass


Well, the things Republicans ran on, hope for and apparently want are rolling through the legislature at a pace not usually seen in the Capitol.

The House last evening passed legislation Democrats have long opposed to limit trial lawyers' ability to sue, sue, sue anybody within a 100 yards of an accident.

The bill, known as the Fair-Share Act (Democrats call it the Wrongdoer Protection Act), is a pro-business measure that would change current law holding all defendants in a proven case of liability, such as medical malpractice, responsible for 100 percent of damages if their codefendants can't pay.

The new law would allow codefendants found less than 60 percent responsible to pay only their share of damages.

Gov. Corbett has said he'd sign such a law. It now goes to the Senate.

Meanwhile, the Senate could vote as soon as today on a school voucher bill to give vouchers to kids from low-income families in public or private schools in poorly performing school districts such as Philly.

After two years, vouchers would be offered to low-income families anywhere, and in the fourth year to middle-income families.

This, too, is legislation the governor has said he supports.

These bills are highest on the GOP priority list. In the House, the lawsuits bill is HB 1; in the Senate, the voucher bill is SB 1.

Democrats argue that the House bill punishes victims and say the Senate bill spells the end of public education. But the Republicans hold majorities in both chambers.

You know what that means: Democrats can have their say, but Republicans will have their way.

And don't think it's just coincidence that trial lawyers and public school teachers have long been major financial supporters of Democratic candidates.

What we're seeing here is a lesson in politics, and further proof that elections have consequences.


Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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