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Thrasher vs trial lawyers, take one...

For a glimpse of the session the limping trial lawyers are likely to have, it's worth checking out tomorrow's bright-and-early meeting of the Senate health regulation committee. They'll be considering SB1474, the perennial bill to protect emergency health care workers and hospitals from large legal claims by capping damages -- under this proposal, at $200,000 for all claims stemming from an incident.

The bill has failed in recent years in the Senate, much to trial lawyers' relief. But this time around the bill has a powerful sponsor who could, if he wishes, use the bill as the vehicle for a little campaign revenge. Who says politics isn't fun to watch?

Sen. John Thrasher, newly elected RPOF chairman, won his Jacksonville Senate seat this past fall during a heated special election in which he became the target of a steady barrage of hard-hitting ads largely funded by personal injury lawyers.

Among the campaign ads: an ugly race-baiting flier that the powerful trial bar lobby admitted to organizing - a move that could make them far less powerful this session.

Thrasher is a former House speaker and lobbyist for doctors and other business interests, and he had the support of former Gov. Jeb Bush and pro-business allies during his campaign. He also had the endorsement of Senate president designate Mike Haridopolos, who made clear his displeasure with the trial bar's decision to work against Thrasher's election.

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