What You Need to Know About Issue One

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA)--There are four main changes that would be made if Issue One, also known as "tort reform" is approved by voters Nov. 6.

First, a cap will be put on the contingency fee an attorney receives in a lawsuit. Meaning they can't make more than 1/3 of the net amount of money a client receives.

In the full text of Issue One, it defines "contingency fee" as an attorney's fee that is paid only if the the person making the claim in the case receives money.

But, the General Assembly has the ability to amend this amount, with a 2/3 vote of each house.

In addition, the issue will also create a $500,000 maximum that an injured person or their beneficiaries can receive in lawsuits for personal injury, property damage, or wrongful death. 

The General Assembly will not be able to lower this limitation, but can increase it by a 2/3 vote of each house.

It also aims to shift the power of the current government.

If passed, it would allow the state legislature to amend or repeal rulings established by the Supreme Court and adopt other rules of pleading, practice, or procedure with a vote of 3/5 of each house.

It would also allow the state legislature to pass their own laws, with a 3/5 vote as well.

The number of votes needed by state legislators to change Supreme Court rules will also change, lowering from 2/3 to 3/5.

The issue also outlines that the rules created by the state legislator, as previously mentioned, will supersede a conflicting rule created by the Supreme Court with a 3/5 vote, instead of a 2/3 vote (as it sits in the Arkansas Constitution).

Jesse Gibson, President of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association, said this will effect more than just lawmakers.

He said, "It will effect every single person in the state of Arkansas at some point in their life. We will all have a family member who's injured. We will all have a family member  in a nursing home, we all have a family member who something horrible might happen to."

If passed, the amendment will become effective on Jan, 1, 2019.

To read the full text of Issue One, click here

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