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State Senate takes up tort reform bill upon return

MADISON - The Wisconsin Senate returns to session tomorrow, and the agenda includes tort reform - the most controversial part of the governor's economic measures.

A Senate panel voted 3-2 last week to make it harder for plaintiffs in product liability suits to prove injuries. Majority Republicans added a limit on punitive damages of $200,000 dollars or twice the amount of actual damages, whichever is greater.

Meanwhile, a GOP Assembly leader wants to amend the bill so it doesn't go easier on defendants in drunk driving cases. That concern was raised at a public hearing earlier this month. Other measures aimed at boosting the state's economy are also on the legislative fast-track, and could get votes this week by the full Assembly and-or Senate.

Republican Governor Scott Walker says the bills would help bring jobs to Wisconsin - but Democrats say they won't have as big of an impact as the GOP believes.