Oklahoma State Senate
Co-President Pro Tempore
Senator Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City
State Capitol Room 418
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: Jume 6, 2008
Sen. Glenn Coffee
Henry Chooses Trial Lawyers over Teachers, Vetoes School Protection
State Capitol, Oklahoma City – When it comes to
choosing trial lawyers or teachers, Oklahomans now know where Gov.
Brad Henry’s loyalties lie: The trial lawyers.
Friday Henry vetoed a bipartisan lawsuit reform bill that would
have curbed lawsuit abuse against teachers and school administrators
who enforce discipline in the classroom. The veto is a major blow
to teachers and schools, but it protects Henry’s allies in
the trial lawyer industry.
The School Protection Act, Senate Bill 1024, is authored by State
Senate Co-Floor Leader Owen Laughlin, R-Woodward, and State Rep.
Dan Sullivan, R-Tulsa. The bill was supported by the Oklahoma Education
“It’s ironic that the self-described ‘education
governor’ has put the interests of the ‘Big Trial
Lawyers’ industry ahead of the interests of teachers and
schoolchildren. It is very discouraging to see the lengths this
governor will go to stop even the most modest of lawsuit reform
proposals from becoming law in Oklahoma,” said Laughlin.
“Once again Governor Henry has vetoed a bipartisan lawsuit
reform bill, and once again he has refused to tell the Legislature
which reforms – if any – he is actually willing to
support,” stated Coffee, R-Oklahoma City. “It’s
becoming painfully clear there is no lawsuit reform proposal this
governor will sign. We may have to go to a vote of the people if
we ever want to accomplish meaningful lawsuit reform for Oklahoma.”
Editors’ note: Here are Highlights of The School Protection
- Would have provided liability protection for actions taken
in good faith by a school district for the out-of-school suspension
of a dangerous or disruptive student pursuant to applicable
- Would have provided
liability protection for losses or claims resulting from the
use of “necessary and reasonable
force” by a school district employee to control and discipline
a student during the time the student is in attendance or in
transit to and from the school, or at a school function.
- Would have awarded attorneys’ fees and court costs
to school districts that successfully defend a lawsuit against
the district or an education employee.
- Would have made it a crime for students to falsely accuse
education employees of criminal activity.
For more information
Paul Ziriax, Leadership Assistant
Office of the Co-President Pro
State Capitol: (405) 596-3874