Louisiana voters turned out in large numbers this election cycle. Now, only a few weeks removed from a contentious and competitive election season, the question becomes what was the message these voters intended to deliver to elected officials by their votes?
To find out, don’t grind over the crosstabs from some fancy biased poll, YouTube a bunch of nasty political commercials or sort through a stack of leftover glossy political mailers that filled your mailbox the last few months. Instead, go talk to real people around Louisiana that could care less about politics but care greatly about their desire to simply work and raise their family in the state they love.
This week, one of our LABI team members met such a person. This man runs a company that provides non-emergency medical transportation in a rural parish. During a policy discussion, when the subject of legal reform came up, he grew increasingly animated. He described his difficulty finding commercial auto insurance, his experiences with frivolous and predatory lawsuits, his frustration with being sued for $49,999 – magically just $1 short of the $50,000 jury trial threshold. He’s fed up, and he’s ready to see action from his elected officials.
He’s not alone. Far from it.
He’s had enough of frivolous lawsuits, his business is suffering because of the high cost of auto insurance, and if these costs drive him out of business, he wonders who will drive his clients to meet their medical needs in such a large, rural area? To him, these aren’t just clients — they are his neighbors, friends, family members and fellow parishioners. In this case, our broken legal system is not only threatening families and small businesses working to find a good job and afford auto insurance, it is also affecting a rural community’s critical access to health care.