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Chamber-Supported Tort Bill Receives Unanimous, Bipartisan Senate Support

| Tort Reform & Legal Climate
This week, the Senate unanimously approved two pieces of legislation with full bipartisan support that will make North Carolina’s legal climate more competitive for job creation. Senate Bill 648: NC Commerce Protection Act received significant debate in committees this week and ultimately passed the Senate unanimously Wednesday evening. Senate Bill 648 includes provisions creating transparency in the Attorney General’s office, amending our successor liability laws, protecting our businesses from patent troll abuse, expanding the role of three-judge panels in the judicial process, and providing greater protections against frivolous lawsuits in the life science industry. We greatly appreciate Sen. Brent Jackson’s leadership on the Commerce Protection Act, which includes fair and balanced measures that make North Carolina’s business climate more competitive by addressing costly concerns in our civil liability system. We appreciate you contacting your legislators in support of SB648 – the business voice was heard!

Additionally, efforts to improve the state’s climate for job creation continued Thursday, as the Senate unanimously approved in a second reading a bill to modernize and enhance the court that handles complex business cases. As I shared with you last week, the business courts are a distinct positive for our states’ business climate. Senate Bill 853: Business Court Modernization further strengthens, modernizes and streamlines this asset. Senate Bill 853, sponsored by Sens. Tamara Barringer and Bob Rucho, streamlines and expedites the timeline for business cases to make their way through the court system. It provides clarity and predictability on the types of cases to be heard by the N.C. Business Court and helps ensure cases where at least five million dollars is at stake or where a company’s existence could be at risk are heard by a court that specializes in complex business litigation. Additionally, SB853 models North Carolina corporate laws on how corporations can be reorganized internally after Delaware’s – which is considered to have the most advanced and flexible corporate statutes in the nation.

SB648 now heads to the House of Representative for their consideration, and SB853 will receive a third reading next week. As important components in the NC Chamber’s 2014 JOBS Agenda, we will continue to keep you updated on the progress of these bills.

Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber