March 26, 2021      5:29 PM
With some substantive changes, trucking liability bill heads to Texas House floor
Chairman Leach says the bill is still a work in progress, Rep. Julie Johnson says it has been improved but “I would really like to see the final bill before we voted out something that transforms Texas law”
A key tort bill of the session – House
Bill 19 – passed out of Texas House Judiciary on a 5-4
vote this week, sending it on to the House floor for further tweaks. The
party-line split on the bill – which limits liability for commercial trucking
accidents – appeared to be just as much about opposition to the process as much
Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, offered
Chair Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Allen, a word of caution when Leach pulled the
bill up for a vote, mid-hearing, on Wednesday.
The trucking industry should not have a
separate lane for tort claims, Dutton said.
The solution contained in Leach’s bill would
create a bifurcated trial process. A first phase would determine liability and
compensatory damages; the second phase would be used for exemplary damages.
By Kimberly Reeves