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Ky. Lawmakers Ponder Lawsuit Limits

State Senator Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, wants medical negligence victims to bring their claims before an industry-dominated review board before they can bring them to court.

His Senate Bill 4 is very much like previous measures which have enjoyed broad support in the GOP-controlled Senate but failed to win over House Democrats. Now, with Republican majorities in both houses, the medical negligence lawsuit limits may become a reality, especially since a Senate panel quickly and overwhelmingly approved Senate Bill 4. Sen. Alvarado, who is also a doctor, spoke up for the proposal during committee hearings, claiming that the number of lawsuits is driving up medical care costs. Doctors “order tests they never would have before just to cover themselves, and the cost of medical care is going up as a result,” he added. If the bill passes, a panel of three medical providers and one non-voting medical negligence lawyer must determine that a claim is meritorious before the victim can obtain damages in court.

A number of Democrats, including Lexington Sen. Reginald Thomas, vehemently oppose¬†Senate Bill 4. “[E]very citizen in this commonwealth should have access to the courthouse door,” he insisted.

Lawmakers Prioritize New Nursing Home

Bowling Green Democrat Jody Richards will not be Speaker Pro Tem in the next House session, but he plans to aggressively push the local agenda in Frankfort.

For the first time since Rep. Richards came to the statehouse in 1976, Republicans control the Commonwealth’s¬†House of Representatives. Nevertheless, he believes his “history of treating the minority party fairly” will help propel some projects forwards, such as the proposed Bowling Green veteran’s nursing home. Legislators have already pre-filed two bills on the subject for the upcoming session; Rep. Richards sponsors one and plans to co-sponsor the other one. He wants construction to begin on the facility “as soon as possible.”

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