The phrase “kicking the can down the road,” is an often overused expression, but when it comes to the Illinois General Assembly, it is not just a phrase but a way of life.
Illinois has a nationally recognized lawsuit abuse problem, which has led to the state being viewed more as the “Land of Lawsuits” than the “Land of Lincoln.” Personal injury lawyers flock to Illinois, filing junk lawsuit after junk lawsuit hoping to strike it rich playing the lawsuit lottery.
Many of those junk lawsuits filed here by aggressive personal injury lawyers on behalf of out-of-state plaintiffs have no real connection to Illinois, but local businesses are still forced to pay to fight or settle these nuisance lawsuits, and that leads to higher prices and fewer jobs for Illinoisans.
Illinois is ranked 46th out of 50 states for legal fairness according to the survey company Harris Interactive. Companies look to do business in states where the litigation climate is fair, so why would an employer move to a state with such a poor legal climate as Illinois?
Even worse, many businesses are now leaving Illinois for neighboring states which have a much fairer civil justice system. Wisconsin and Indiana have run ads in Illinois boasting about the lawsuit reforms they have recently passed and are encouraging Illinois businesses to flee across the boarder to locations where they are much less likely to be sued.
What have the leaders of the Illinois General Assembly done to stop this flood of jobs out of Illinois? Nothing. Legislators once again this year failed to pass even one of the several common sense lawsuit reform bills that were proposed and that would have restored fairness to Illinois courts and helped to create new jobs rather than new lawsuits.
As a consequence of this continued action in Springfield, it will be up to voters to do their part to spur legislators to stand up to the personal injury lawyers and finally pass lawsuit reforms next year. Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch has launched a public education campaign called “Stopping Lawsuit Abuse Starts With You” to urge voters to ask their legislators whether or not they will vote for common sense lawsuit reform when they are introduced again next year.
If our legislators continue to kick the can down the road, they may find that voters are ready to kick them right out of office this November.
Travis Akin is Executive Director of Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch