Pressure from business groups mean changes to Wisconsin's liability laws may not be part of the state budget. Dozens of business groups and other organizations had wanted proposed changes to liability laws removed from the state budget, and now Assembly Democrats appear to have agreed to do just that.
"The elected officials reacted as they should, listening to their constituents, instead of the relative handful of personal injury lawyers who are responsible for having this in the budget to begin with," said Jim Buchen with Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce , the state's largest business lobby group.
Governor Jim Doyle included the provision in the budget which would rewrite how courts and juries determine who is financially responsible for paying damages and, said Buchen, cost Wisconsin businesses millions of dollars. "I think a lot of members of the legislature have become persuaded that this is a complicated issue that requires more scrutiny at a minium, which is another reason not to do it as part of the budget bill," he said.
Buchen expects the language to be dropped when the Assembly votes on the budget. "That's one step in the process. The Senate has to adopt its version of the budget, and in that house, the majority leader (Senator Russ Decker ) has indicated that he supports this provision, and would presumably try to keep it in," said Buchen.