The Texas Trucking Association celebrated the passage of House Bill 19 by the Texas House of Representatives and Texas Senate, saying the bill “will change the trajectory of lawsuit abuse” in the state.
The Senate-revised bill was approved in the House by a 106-38 vote.
The bill now heads to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature, and will take effect on Sept 1, ensuring 80,000 trucking companies that call Texas home continue to operate without abusive lawsuits threatening their livelihoods, according to TXTA.
“Today is a monumental day for the Texas trucking industry,” said John D. Esparza, TXTA president and CEO. “For too many years, the trucking industry has been a lucrative profit center for some trial attorneys—often times preying upon victims of accidents and guiding them to frivolous lawsuits, while also manipulating and misleading jurors on the facts of the case.”
HB 19 is a bipartisan piece of legislation that ensures accident victims are compensated when wrongfully injured, while also protecting businesses across the state from biased and unfair courtroom tactics, the association said.
“Truck drivers go through rigorous training and most truck companies have safety compliance policies beyond what is required by the government,” Esparza said. “Despite the narrative created by the opposition, there is a culture of safety within the trucking community—but when an accident does occur at the negligence of a driver or company, we want them to be held just as accountable as anyone else. Our own families travel the same highways as our trucks. Safety has and always will be a top priority of the trucking industry.”
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) designated trucking tort reform as priority legislation. HB 19 was authored by Chairman Jeff Leach (R-Plano) and more than 70 co-authors in the House of Representatives. The bill was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) and a bipartisan group of 16 co-sponsors. Rep. Eddie Lucio, III (D-Brownsville) led efforts by a coalition of democrats that ultimately gave HB 19 the bipartisan support that carried over into the Senate.
The final bill reflected input through public testimony and a broad coalition of stakeholders.
“We owe a great deal of thanks to numerous legislators who worked across the aisle to support House Bill 19,” Esparza said. “The collaborative effort demonstrates how devastating the continued abuse of our legal system would be for the Texas economy. Truck drivers are the backbone of the economy and what is bad for truckers is bad for Texans.”