OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Harkey Protests Legal Settlements Used to Decimate California Jobs

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on February 25, 2012

This just came across the wire from the office of Assemblywoman Harkey:

Harkey Protests Legal Settlements Used to Decimate California Jobs

SACRAMENTO – The Legislature traditionally appropriates funds to settle lawsuits against the state where the Department of Justice recommends settlement over continuing litigation.  In the case of SB 730 authored by Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) one settlement rewards the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) $3.5 million to settle a lawsuit they filed against the state over timber permits and includes more than $98,000 in interest payments that have been incurred since the settlement was made in November.  The typically family-owned timber industry has been hard hit by California’s costly regulatory and litigious environment. “State settlements, where the State agrees to pay the litigant’s attorney’s fees, often times merely serve to fund the next lawsuit against small businesses and California employers,” said Harkey.

Assemblywoman Harkey pushed for an amendment on the Assembly floor that would bring interest rates on legal judgments paid by the state to an equitable level with the rate taxpayers receive.  As a matter of state policy going forward, the amount of interest paid to claimants for the unpaid legal settlements should be the same as the interest we pay to refund overpaid taxes and fees to the state.  The Democrat run Assembly voted this common sense amendment down.

“It is our responsibility as lawmakers to be good stewards of the people’s money, said Harkey.  At a time when core priorities like education and public safety are on the budget chopping block, I cannot in good conscience justify giving the green light to future exorbitant interest payments like these.  Just because you sue the state and win doesn’t mean you should get a better interest rate on your delayed payment than taxpayers.”

Assemblywoman Harkey represents the 73rd Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Oceanside, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano.

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