NASHVILLE - Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's bill to cap awards in medical malpractice and other personal injury cases is headed to the governor for his signature after the House reluctantly agreed to a Senate change in the legislation.
The GOP-controlled House originally sought to lift the $750,000 cap on non-economic damages if the defendant caused the injury while committing a felony. But the version approved by Senate majority Republicans eliminates the cap only if the defendant intended to cause the injury.
Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah, the House bill's sponsor, said while he disagrees with the Senate version, it was important to get the bill to Haslam. He said senators have agreed to work him on separate legislation to restore the House version, although that will likely to occur next year
That didn't satisfy Rep. Eddie Bass, D-Prospect, a former sheriff.
"Just so everyone will know, we're giving felons the same protection as anyone else" in accepting the Senate version, he said.
The change was adopted on a 68-27 vote, sending the bill on to Haslam, who made limiting lawsuit damages a major initiative in his legislative package.