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WMC Hails Governor Walker Signing Significant Legal Reforms

MADISONWisconsin’s business climate will improve dramatically with the signing of significant legal reforms by Governor Scott Walker Thursday, WMC said.

“These reforms will add certainty, fairness and predictability to our legal system,” said James A. Buchen, WMC vice president of government relations. “Governor Walker and all of the legislative supporters of these new laws deserve tremendous thanks and praise because these reforms will improve our business climate.”

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce represents 3,500 companies that have 500,000 employees. The Wisconsin Senate passed the legal reforms earlier this week.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald led the bills through their houses to final passage.

Governor Walker called the Legislature into special session on January 3 to take swift action on reforms that will lead to job creation.

“Our business climate has lagged other states, and we are making dramatic progress to turn that around in less than a month,” Buchen said. “The signing of these reforms is a monumental step towards making Wisconsin the most competitive state in the nation.”

The legal reform bill approved by both houses includes:

  • Adoption of various changes to product liability law to bring Wisconsin in line with other states and assist Wisconsin manufacturers and small businesses.
  • Requiring expert witnesses to base their opinions on sound science and well-established theories.
  • Elimination of the “risk contribution” theory in manufacturing lawsuits. The Wisconsin Supreme Court created the standard allowing plaintiffs to sue any lead paint manufacturer that sold paint in the state without proving which product caused the harm.
  • A cap on punitive damage awards.

“These reforms should get national attention for Wisconsin, and encourage businesses here to create jobs and encourage businesses in other states to come to Wisconsin because we’re open for business,” Buchen said.

James A. Buchen, (608) 258-3400





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