Something seems strange here in the governor’s veto message of an anti-runner bill that would have banned solicitation in person or by phone 31 days after an auto accident.:
House Bill No. 1519 does not include attorneys in the new section (d-1) it creates for the offense of barratry and solicitation of professional employment. The new section prohibits in person or telephone contact before 31 days have passed since an accident; however attorneys are included in the current law in section (d), which covers improper written communications. The criminal acts covered by the statute should contain identical provisions for all covered professions.The bill gets killed because prohibitions against attorneys are not the same as restriction on others?
If this is the real reason for the veto — and at least one observer doubts it is — why didn’t the governor raise these concerns as the bill was being debated?
Paul Burka, an editor with Texas Monthly, wrote this following the governor’s veto:
HB 1519 — T. Smith/Carona. What is this, a bill about typewriters? No, it’s about ambulance chasers. It prohibits chiropractors, other licensed health professionals, and licensed private investigators from engaging in barratry, which is illegal solicitation of employment with regard to litigation–here, a personal injury suffered in an accident or disaster. Solicitation is prohibited for thirty days. The governor’s veto message reads, “The new section prohibits in person or telephone contact before 31 days have passed since an accident; however attorneys are included in the current law … which covers improper written communications. The criminal acts covered by the statute should contain identical provisions for all covered professions.” Huh? Surely Perry’s staff knows that current law prohibits lawyers from soliciting business period. This reason is so weak that I’m sure Perry killed the bill for other reasons. Some possibilities: (1) The chiros wanted it killed. (2) The trial lawyers wanted it signed. (3) Perry wanted to keep the ambulance chasers around so he could continue to whip up on trial lawyers.
The Lone Star state has been a real disappointment in moving forward on anti-fraud legislation in recent years.