Readers Write: Hochul was right to veto death liability statute

Readers Write: Hochul was right to veto death liability statute
Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York

State Sen. Anthony Palumbo’s (R-Riverhead) characterization of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s veto of a controversial bill misses the mark. In reality, Hochul’s decision was a measured response to a proposal with potentially devastating implications for our healthcare system, local governments, school districts, and the Empire State’s economic well-being.

The vetoed legislation would have created the most expansive wrongful death liability statute in the nation. While the intention to support grieving families is commendable, the bill’s unprecedented and broad scope would have led to skyrocketing insurance premiums, placing enormous financial burdens on public services, cancer centers, safety-net hospitals, and household budgets.

Contrary to Palumbo’s portrayal, Hochul’s decision was not an act of political expediency. In fact, in vetoing the bill she stood up to one of the most powerful special interests in the state – the trial lawyers.

Her veto should represent a call for a more balanced approach. New York’s legal framework should evolve, but such evolution should be the result of comprehensive dialogue among all stakeholders, not just the plaintiffs attorneys who stand to earn 33% of every settlement and verdict.

Attempting to wield legislative power unilaterally is not the way forward. We must collaborate to craft legislation that truly serves all New Yorkers. This means taking a thoughtful approach to reform, one that balances compassion with the practicalities of governance and economic stability.

It’s time for all parties to come back to the drawing board and work towards a solution that benefits grieving families without disrupting the healthcare system, draining municipal and school budgets, and increasing costs for consumers.

Tom Stebbins is executive director at the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York.

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