Holly Wilson To Lead State Chamber Foundation, Civil Justice Reform Efforts
Former Arkansas GOP spokesperson Holly Wilson has been named Director of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce Foundation, a 501(c)(3) group that will focus on education and grassroots support for civil justice reform, also referred to as tort reform.
Wilson, a lawyer and former legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Arkansas, has served on the Senate Commerce Committee as a staffer and as legal counsel. She has a degree in International Relations with a focus on Economics from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
A native of Osceola, Wilson has worked the last year as communications director for the Republican Party of Arkansas, which made unprecedented gains in federal, state and legislative races this November.
Randy Zook, President and CEO of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Arkansas, said Wilson’s role with the foundation will not include lobbying. He said she would conduct research, position development, speak, fundraise, and build grassroots support for civil justice reform.
The Arkansas Supreme Court struck down provisions of a nearly ten-year old tort reform law in 2013.
A potential constitutional measure that would reform the state’s judicial code stalled in the last regular legislative session later that same year. Two competing proposals could not be reconciled and did not get referred from a Joint State Agencies Committee.
The state chamber and the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association have often been at odds fighting for and against changes to the state’s judicial code.
When he received an endorsement from the National Federation of Independent Businesses in October 2014, Gov.-elect Asa Hutchinson said he would push for tort reform.
He said it would first require a constitutional amendment that would allow the state Legislature to have jurisdiction over limits to the judicial system. With that authority, which Hutchinson said would require “leadership” from the Governor, the legislature could make changes such as capping punitive damages.