- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 8, 2014

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill that would allow doctors and other health care providers to apologize to patients without worrying about whether the statements could be used against them in court.

Republican state Sen. Leah Vukmir announced the bill signing on Tuesday. Walker signed the bill, and a host of other measures, in private.

The new law, pushed by Republicans, makes apologies, condolences or expressions of sympathy inadmissible in civil proceedings and in administrative hearings concerning the health care provider’s actions.

Supporters, including Vukmir, argue the new law will encourage open communication between doctors and patients. Opponents, including trial attorneys, say the change will make it harder for patients to bring successful malpractice lawsuits.