Saturday, August 21, 2004

Tort Reform To Be Decided By Wizzing Contest

OKLAHOMA CITY (OP) – In a rare display of bipartisan cooperation, House Majority Leader Larry Adair, D-Stilwell and House Minority Floor Leader Todd Hiett, R-Kellyville, announced that Oklahoma lawsuit reforms would be settled through a legislative pissing contest. Tort reform has been a hot-button issue since a Wall Street Journal editorial accused Oklahoma of offering “jackpot justice.”
 The debate has deeply divided the legislature, with Republicans claiming reform is necessary to promote economic development and Democrats saying the legislation would curb the rights of the injured. “Oklahoma wants lawsuit reform, but the Democrats are blocking the process to protect their trial lawyer cohorts,” Hiett said. “We’ve offered plan after plan, only to see our proposals gutted in conference committees.” “We just hope this will shut them up,” Adair said.
 The pissing contest is a legislative procedure outlined in Article 28, Section 10 of the state constitution, in between the part that defines the ignition point of kerosene and the provisions that cover how many hours a child can work underground. It states, in part, that, “in the case of a breakdown in the political process, issues may be decided by a urinary confrontation.”



 The next 40 pages of the state constitution govern the rules of the contest, including regulations for distance, duration, and “the crossing of streams.” The contest is scheduled to take place next week between Adair and Hiett. Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice Hardy Summers will serve as the official judge. In preparation for the showdown, Adair and Hiett say they have raised their fluid intake from 12 to 24 beers per day

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