- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 11, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The Republican-led Senate has cleared a legal reform proposal that turned from contentious into compromise.

Senators voted 31-2 Wednesday for deliberate intent legal protection changes. When a known unsafe working condition hurts or kills someone, the lawsuits are available, in addition to workers’ compensation claims.

The Senate focused mainly on defining serious injuries in the lawsuits. The West Virginia Association for Justice blasted the House bill, but called the new version a compromise.

The association and many Democrats said the original would have made the burden of proof so high that wrongdoing companies and executives could more easily avoid lawsuits. Several delegates mentioned mine disasters, including the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine explosion that killed 29 men.

The House, which passed the contested version, will consider the new one next.

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