Judiciary bills sent to the floor

The Senate Judiciary Committee sent two controversial bills heard last year back to the Senate floor on a procedural motion this week. This means these bills can be taken up for debate on the Senate floor this year.

One bill, a part of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) legislative agenda, reduces the interest rate from the commencement of a law suit to judgement from 10% to 4%. This will hurt plaintiffs in lawsuits, especially individuals and small businesses, who have had their case heard in court and have rightfully been awarded damages. It creates disincentives for quick payment of judgments, prolonging the collections process and making it difficult, if not impossible, for attorneys to work on a contingency basis. (SF 1197)

The other bill was the subject of much attention at the legislature last year. It creates enhanced penalties for people who protest on freeways, airport roads, and transitways. Opponents of the bill say it will have a chilling effect on free speech, and that prosecutors are already able to charge protesters who unlawfully assemble. Supporters say it’s important to public safety to maintain clear roadways for emergency vehicles to pass, and to allow others free movement in their travel. (SF 676)