May 20, 2009
Texas: Tell Your House Member to Oppose All Amendments to Sunset Bill
Last week NAMIC sent an alert reporting that some House Democrats were unhappy with the Senate-passed version of the “Sunset Commission” bill, SB 1007, and they stated their intention to thoroughly debate insurance issues while the bill resides in the House. Some House Democrats have requested myriad troubling amendments, including language turning back the clock on tort reform, returning to prior approval, and banning the use of credit-based insurance scoring.
On Monday the House Insurance Committee approved SB 1007 and sent it to the House floor. The House bill is sponsored by Rep. Carl Isett, who serves as co-chair of the Sunset Commission. The Texas legislative session concludes on June 1, so it is likely the House will act on the bill tomorrow or Friday.
There is still a very good chance that pro-trial bar and anti-competitive market amendments will be added on the House floor so NOW is the time to contact your member of the Texas House.
The Texas Association of Business (TAB) is encouraging the business community to mobilize and has provided the following message points:
- Bad amendments threaten the continuation of the Texas Department of Insurance.
- Businesses and employers representing every industry in Texas are asking the Texas Legislature to reject all amendments to SB 1007 – the Texas Department of Insurance Sunset Bill.
- The Sunset Advisory Commission is the legislative body that reviews the policies and programs of all government agencies every 12 years. The commission questions the need for each agency, looks for potential duplication of other public services or programs, and considers changes to improve each agency's operations and activities. Agencies under review are automatically abolished unless legislation is enacted to continue them.
- Due to the necessity of passing SB 1007 to continue the Texas Department of Insurance, the bill will become a vehicle for many HARMFUL amendments that will threaten the business climate in Texas – businesses in EVERY sector of the market – unless immediate action is taken.
- Anti-business amendments seek to create more causes of action in tort cases by rolling back tort reforms; seek to jeopardize the benefits of thousands of Texans who receive their existing health insurance coverage under ERISA; and seek to burden the insurance environment in Texas by decreasing market participants, impeding on the accuracy in the pricing of policies and hurting the current healthy and competitive insurance market.
- Tell your representative to keep politics out of SB 1007 by voting “NO” on all of its amendments.
Thank you for assisting with the important effort.
Direct questions to NAMIC's Director of State Affairs Joe Thesing.