Yesterday’s hearing of the House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee took up two TCJL-supported bills. HB 2748 by Rep. Tryon Lewis (R-Odessa) addresses the Texas Supreme Court’s Denbury decision by establishing an administrative process at the Texas Railroad Commission for certifying common carrier pipelines. Representatives of the pipeline industry and Texas Public Citizen testified in favor of the bill. The Texas Farm Bureau and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association spoke on the bill, raising specific concerns about the language. The only adverse testimony came from the Texas Public Policy Foundation. HB 2748 was left pending before the committee.

HB 1325 by Rep. Doug Miller (R-New Braunfels), which gives the asbestos/silica MDL judges the ability to dismiss inactive cases from the MDL dockets, had no opposition in committee. TCJL is grateful for the leadership of Rep. Miller, Chairman Lewis, and Rep. Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches) for sponsoring negotiations on the bill and bringing the parties to agreement.

The committee also heard testimony on HB 1869 by Rep. Four Price (R-Amarillo). This legislation addresses the Texas Supreme Court decision in the Fortis case by apportioning a health insurer’s subrogation claim between the carrier and the claimant. Health insurers, cities, and workers’ comp non-subscribers testified in opposition to the bill, with attorneys and the Texas Alliance for Patient Access in support. The Senate companion is SB 1339 by Sen. Duncan.

The committee took votes on two bills supported by the League, HB 658 and HB 2843 by Rep. Kenneth Sheets (R-Dallas). HB 658 tolls post-judgment interest on Medicare and Medicaid subrogation claims until the federal government issues a demand letter and the defendant has the chance to pay the claim. HB 2843 deals with the time in which a plaintiff must serve an expert report in a health care liability claim and when the defendant must serve objections to the report. Both bills were reported favorably as substituted.

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