Bills approved by the General Assembly:
*Allows insurance companies to set their own rates without prior approval from the insurance commissioner for three more years. That right was due to expire this year.
*Limits jury awards for noneconomic, or so-called pain and suffering damages such as disfigurement, at $350,000 in all personal injury cases in which the cause of action occurs after July 1, 1986. But damages specifically levied as punishment from gross wrongdoing are excluded from the limit.
*Allows courts to order periodic payments of jury awards, instead of a lump sum, whether or not both sides request such a settlement.
*Requires alleged victims to obtain evidence of possible malpractice before filing a lawsuit. The evidence must be from a certified medical professional who does not spend more than 20 percent of his or her time testifying on such cases.
*Protects directors of charitable organizations from lawsuits connected with their activities, as long as the organization purchases insurance up to a certain level.
*Requires insurance companies offering home and auto insurance to provide insurance to people who are licensed to provide day care in their homes. Bills killed by the General Assembly:
*Would have allowed defendants in a lawsuit to reveal at trial any benefits the plaintiff has received as a result of the injury, such as from health insurance.
*Would have required insurance companies to disclose more information about their annual costs and profits, for several types of insurance offered.
*Would have created a catastrophic loss fund, to pay for jury awards exceeding $1 million levied against doctors and other professionals.
*Would have capped damage awards against counties and municipalities at $250,000 per person or $500,000 per incident. Employes found guilty of gross negligence or misconduct could have been required to pay amounts higher than that.