In a vote split 7-6 along party lines, with Republicans in favor, the Judiciary Committee of the Oklahoma House of Representatives has given its approval to a measure that would strip Democratic Attorney General Drew Edmondson of the power to file lawsuits without approval of the state's governor or in some cases its legislature. According to Edmondson himself and a second AP story, the move is a reaction to Edmondson's pursuit of a pollution lawsuit against poultry producers, a move that has riled the state Farm Bureau. The measure's future is uncertain, but if it passes, Oklahoma would apparently become the first state to rein in its formerly independent AG office in such a manner. The press release from the Oklahoma House is here. Private trial lawyers did especially well from the state's role in the 1998 AG-brokered tobacco settlement: see Jun. 7, 2000. For an indication that it might be prudent to keep Mr. Edmondson at a safe remove from involvement in securities litigation, see Overlawyered, Dec. 18, 2003.
Okla. lawmakers seek to rein in AG