During the last legislative session, lawmakers passed legislation  tamping down on frivolous lawsuits against insurance companies over inflated hailstorm insurance claims. The legislation passed 92-55 along mostly partisan lines.
Texas Democrats, overwhelmingly supported by trial lawyers, have long opposed any and all tort reform measures.
But two Republican legislators who opposed the legislation are facing zero consequences for their vote from the state’s largest lawsuit reform organization.
Texans for Lawsuit Reform, whose two-decade mission has been to pass tort reform measures that eliminate frivolous lawsuits and the added costs to consumers they cause, made the legislation – termed the “hailstorm bill” – their number one push during the session, threatening legislators who didn’t fall in line that they would be held accountable.
So far, that seems to be an empty threat.
State Rep. Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches), who has received campaign cash from individual trial lawyers as well as the liberal Texas Trial Lawyers Association, received $7,500 from TLR prior to the last session. After voting against their signature piece of legislation, how much has poured into Danny Ward’s campaign to challenge him?
Not a single cent.
The same story is taking place in the Texas Panhandle, where State Rep. Ken King (R-Canadian) is being challenged by Richard Beyea and Jason Huddleston in the Republican primary. King joined Democrats and Clardy in voting against the legislation, despite previously receiving $10,000 from TLR and $5,000 from Dick Weekley, a co-founder of the organization.
Despite King’s betrayal, the latest financial reports show that neither Huddleston nor Beyea has received any support from TLR.
Lawsuit reform has long been a goal of conservatives in Texas, and a plank of the Republican Party of Texas’ platform. If TLR is failing to hold elected officials accountable, voters will have their opportunity to weigh in at the ballot in March.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Managing Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens

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