As with the Assembly, among the budget changes adopted by the Senate were amendments completely removing provisions that would have modified rules governing contributory negligence and joint and several liability, thereby retaining current law. However, the Senate – like the Assembly — kept budget provisions allowing the stacking of auto insurance policies and requiring increased coverage minimums. In addition, the Senate added a controversial provision requiring drivers in Wisconsin to purchase auto liability insurance.
Governor Jim Doyle had used the budget to propose the return to a “deep pockets” approach toward liability, encouraging the filing of more lawsuits based on the thinnest of speculative bases. It was a clear message to businesses to stay out of Wisconsin, which the lawmakers seemed to have realized.
Still a conference committee to go, though.
For more, see this piece by James Haney of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.
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