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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 as content.

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

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