OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Republican House Speaker Todd Hiett's lawsuit reform plan advances to the state Senate after winning state House approval in a largely party-line vote.
The Justice and Common Sense Act of 2005 would make it harder to file class-action lawsuits and give greater freedom for doctors to give free care to needy Oklahomans.
Hiett said Wednesday he believes House Bill 2047 will receive a fair hearing in the Democrat-controlled Senate, where a lawsuit reform program supported by Democratic Governor Brad Henry awaits action.
The measure passed 62-to-38 after the GOP speaker said reform was needed to stop junk lawsuits he claims are driving businesses and jobs out of the state.
Opponents argue the bill will make it harder for average Oklahomans to go to court when they are injured.
Altus state Representative David Braddock says he disagrees with parts of the measure but would vote for it to keep it alive.