Lower car insurance in Louisiana still a possibility with two new bills

Published: June 16, 2020

By: Catherine Hunt, LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGE —Two bills that aim to lower insurance rates in Louisiana by limiting damage suits by people injured in car accidents passed the House Monday and will move to the Senate for debate.

Both are generally similar to a bill by Sen. Kirk Talbot, R-River Ridge, that had been approved by the Legislature but was vetoed by Gov. John Bel Edwards on Friday.

It’s unclear if Republican legislators will attempt to muster the two-thirds majority vote needed to override Edwards’ veto of Talbot’s bill or hope that one of Garofalo or Schexnayder’s bills will have more success in the next two weeks before the special session ends.

Sen. Ray Garafalo, R-Chalmette, proposed an alternative bill related to auto insurance rates that passed the House on Monday.
Sen. Ray Garofalo, R-Chalmette, proposed an alternative bill related to auto insurance rates that passed in the house on Monday (Photo: Courtesy)

The new bills each passed the House by wide enough margins that suggest either could survive a veto if the governor opposed them.

Also Monday, Edwards signed a bill backed by Republican leaders to give $300 million of the more than $900 million in federal coronavirus relief aid to businesses instead of routing all of it to state and local governments, as the governor had preferred.

All three bills aim to lower car insurance rates for drivers in Louisiana, who pay the second highest premiums in the country after Michigan, by changing Louisiana’s tort laws that Republican say make it too easy for injured people to file lawsuits after car accidents.

The new bills were written by Rep. Ray Garofalo, R-Chalmette, and Speaker of the House Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales.

Both bills remove the last-minute flaw added into Talbot’s bill that would have required judges to award damages to injured plaintiffs at 1 ½ times the total premiums they had paid, resulting in tens of thousands of dollars more than the bill’s supporters had intended for many plaintiffs.

Read more at Shreveport Times

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