Later this month state Insurance Commissioner George Dale will testify before a legislative committee, which is examining tort reform. The committee is examining whether or not changes need to be made in the state's civil justice system. When asked his opinion on the matter, Dale says something must be done.
"Probably the legal system and trying to make it more objective and back to the middle of the road is one of the few things that the Mississippi legislature can address that deals with this problem," said Dale.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, since 1995 jury verdicts in Mississippi have totaled about two billion dollars. Because of this, the Chamber recently spent an estimated $100,000 on newspaper ads calling the state's business climate "unfriendly."
Since early June the special legislative committee has been hearing testimony from officials on both sides of the matter. Senator Terry Burton from Newton is on the committee. In coming weeks he says the committee will travel to various parts of the state and hold meetings to get public input on the matter.
At this time, he says East Mississippi is not on the list of scheduled stops. He says the committee will likely wrap up its hearings in late August and make its recommendations to the full legislature sometime soon then after.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Dale says there is only one answer to the problem, "it's going to take some compromise!"