Members of the House move a step closer to tightening the rules under which Missourians can file a lawsuit. A strong voice vote gives initial approval to so-called tort reform. Sponsor Richard Byrd of Kirkwood claims his bill will lower medical malpractice premiums and keep doctors from closing shop or leaving the state. Demcrats claim Republicans are simply trying to shield corporations from civil lawsuits. They say the bill is too broad and that it lacks the insurance reform provisions they say are needed to address the problem. Another vote is needed to send the bill to the Senate.
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