9/18/2010 9:12 AM
Gov. Rick Perry told today’s Red State Gathering in Austin that the 10th Amendment is the most important part of the constitution, and he’s very concerned by attempts in Washington DC to undermine it. This was a friendly audience. Perry received several standing ovations as he highlighted his plan for expanded tort reform. The content of Perry’s speech would not be news to anyone who has followed Perry’s campaign, but it is a concise, clear explanation of his governing philosophy.
Perry jokingly suggested that America should be grateful that the Environmental Protection Agency did not exist during the dust bowl, as it regulates how much dust farms can emit. He encouraged those attending the gathering from out-of-state to help elect like-minded pro-10th Amendment governors in their states.
Perry predicted a dramatic change in course at the federal level this November. He told the audience “Republicans lost [in 2008] because you couldn’t tell the difference between a Republican and a Democrat.”
Perry outlined four principles of governing: 1. Don’t spend all the money; 2. Fair and predictable taxation and regulation; 3. Don’t allow for oversuing; and 4. Have an appropriately funded, accountable public school system.
The governor elaborated at length on his “loser pays” tort reform proposal. Perry noted that businesses often view lawsuit settlements as a cost of doing business and pay a “nuisance value” to settle meritless lawsuits. He proposed allowing judges and juries to award attorneys fees to defendants. Perry’s critique of the plaintiff’s bar and call for more tort reform was second only to the 10th Amendment as the biggest applause line in his speech.
Right now, Perry’s tort reform proposal has been unveiled only in bullet-point form. To understand what it really does, one has to see the bill. But its critics will have their work cut out for them in the coming legislative session.