In his State of the State Address last week, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker called on the state’s legislators to take action on their Small Business Plan.
The first step: passing comprehensive legal reforms to lower the cost on businesses. From his speech:
“Fourth, I ask the members of the Legislature to pass our Small Business Plan to help even more employers grow across the state. The first step is reducing costs for small businesses. Lower taxes, streamlining regulations, and reducing frivolous lawsuits are all part of the plan. There is still more that can be done this session on ending unemployment fraud and on lawsuit reform. Let’s get it done.”
Wisconsin’s Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee will hold a hearing today on a bill that would revamp the state’s legal system. The state Assembly held a hearing on their bill earlier this month.
Both bills would clean up the legal system and reduce frivolous litigation, which can hamper economic growth. They would bring the state’s class action procedures in line with the rest of the country, create balanced discovery practices, regulate the predatory lawsuit lending industry, and introduce transparency into the opaque practice of third party litigation funding.
A strong legal system is important. The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform’s 2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey found that 85 percent of business leaders say a state’s lawsuit environment influences major business decisions, such as where to grow or hire. A legal reform bill like this could take Wisconsin’s growing economy to the next level.
Wisconsin has spent recent years in the middle of the pack in that survey. The legislators’ consideration of this bill shows they are taking their business climate seriously. Though competition for the best lawsuit climate has never been tighter, the legislature’s willingness to tackle major legal issues proves they are ready to jump to the top.
Both chambers of the state legislature should heed Gov. Walker’s direction and pass this major legal reform legislation as soon as possible.