- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has signed a bill that changes the way Oregon handles class-action lawsuits.

Brown’s move Wednesday marks her first bill signed as governor. Brown took over for former Gov. John Kitzhaber two weeks ago.

The bill was a top priority for Democrats, who used their newly expanded House and Senate majorities to quickly push it through the Legislature.

Democrats say their bill would prevent companies that break the law from keeping money they’ve earned illegally. Republicans say the measure would make it far too easy to bring large lawsuits in Oregon, damaging the business climate. They also say it would unfairly change the rules for a lawsuit already in progress against the oil company BP.

BP has pledged to challenge the bill.

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