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HomePoliticsTennessee Democratic Leaders urge Veto of "Loser Pays" Bill

Tennessee Democratic Leaders urge Veto of “Loser Pays” Bill

Favors: Bill evokes a time before women’s rights were taken seriously

Tennessee Senate Democratic CaucusNashville, TN – House and Senate Democrats are urging Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to veto legislation that would protect public officials, including state lawmakers, from lawsuits alleging sexual harassment.

“This bill causes me and other women great concern because it is regressive in nature,” state Rep. JoAnne Favors said. “It has taken many, many years for us to come to the point in history here in Tennessee and throughout the nation when women’s rights were observed, when women were able to file lawsuits, when women were to file complaints about sexual harassment.

“I can recall during my lifetime when, if you called the police about charges about sexual harassment or domestic violence, they made light of this, and if you went back and looked in history, you would see very few convictions and charges in our court system about women. So that is very concerning to me today.”

SB 2377 would potentially make plaintiffs liable for legal fees if they lose any count in a civil claim against a state employee. Under the bill, someone could sue a state lawmaker for sexual harassment, win on one count and lose on another, and still be held liable for the state’s legal fees.

“The AG just interviewed 34 people in a harassment investigation, yet his bill would make it virtually impossible for any of them to seek justice in the courts,” state Rep. Mike Stewart said. “That is obviously wrong.”

A letter urging the veto was delivered to Governor Haslam April 11th.

A copy of the letter is available here.

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