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A new court system devoted solely to settling business disputes is being proposed by the state’s top three elected officials, though it has its share of critics as well. The Austin American-Statesman reported Abbott, House Speaker Dade Phelan and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in separate announcements proposed the creation of a specialty business court, modeled after the Chancery Court of Delaware.
The court has been in existence for more than two centuries and has been emulated by a few dozen states. The specialty business court has been listed as a top priority of legislators during this session.
Abbott said the court would provide consistency in applying state law when businesses end up in court disputes. A high-powered lobby group, Texans for Lawsuit Reform, is backing the plan.
“Businesses today know the same case with the same facts can produce wildly varying outcomes simply based on which part of the state it’s filed in and which judge is hearing it, and we know attorneys are telling their clients not to litigate in Texas because of this unpredictability,” TLR spokeswoman Lucy Nashed Cafrelli said in the Statesman story.
The judges for the business court would be appointed by the governor, according to House bill 19, filed last week. The president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association called that problematic.
“The bottom line is that Texans value electing their judges,” San Antonio attorney Laura Tamez said.
Child fatalities drop in last fiscal year
The number of children in Texas who died due to accidents, maltreatment and unsafe sleep declined by 27% in the last fiscal year. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services reported 182 children died due to abuse and neglect in the state during fiscal year 2022. The most common causes of fatalities involving neglect were drowning, unsafe sleep, physical neglect and medical neglect, DFPS reported.
Children 3 years of age and younger comprised almost 80% of all confirmed child abuse and neglect fatalities over the past 10 fiscal years. However, in the past three years, there has been a marked increase in fatalities involving older children. In all confirmed cases of abuse and neglect, parents were the most common perpetrators.
Daylight saving time starts Sunday
Spring is approaching, and so is daylight saving time, which starts at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 12. Clocks jump ahead an hour, so if you forget to adjust the time you are liable to show up for church an hour late and miss the service.
The first two countries to use daylight saving time were Germany and Austria in 1916. They did so to save fuel used for artificial lights during World War I. The United States followed suit in 1918.