YES we can” if we work together. The work has started in Washington, at the round house and within NMTLA. We must thank Pia Salazar the chair of this years COIR drive for planning and executing the most successful drive in our history. Also, thank you to the board members who participated in the drive and who contributed to COIR.

Many of us are looking to our new President to right the wrongs of the last administration.  The American Association for Justice (AAJ) called on President Obama to repeal regulations that limit corporate liability and fetter individuals’ access to the courts.

AAJ and NMTLA look forward to the Obama administration reaffirming the importance of a civil justice system that complements strong regulations. The efforts to give negligent corporations complete immunity, escape accountability, and leave Americans without any recourse has gone too far and must be reversed. Seven executive agencies have recently issued more than 54 regulations with language that preempts state tort claims. We have a Senate bill (Insurance Product Regulation Compact) being introduced this session that proposes to deregulate insurance which amounts toNew Mexico insurance policies being regulated by a private corporation (the Commission) outside the oversight or control of New Mexico. If the bill is passed it eliminates insurance consumer claims being heard in New Mexico. Any claims by or against the “Commission” will have to be heard at its principle office in Washington, D.C. Further, states with strong consumer protections for long-term care policyholders could likely face management committee pressure to roll the policies back if they conflict with uniformity among the states within the compact.

President Obama has the power and will hopefully use it to restore the traditional balance between federal regulation and state-based consumer protections and ensure injured Americans have access to the courts when injured by negligence or misconduct. NMTLA is asking the same of our legislators during this sixty day session.

AAJ is also asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to open a rulemaking proceeding to “reinstate congressional intent” regarding the ability of consumers to hold medical device manufacturers accountable for their injuries, even from FDA-approved devices.

It is apparent that AAJ hit the ground running in the beginning days of the new Congressional session.  I hope NMTLA has done the same. David Duhigg and Pia Salazar have already asked many of you to review bills. Thank you for your thorough and thoughtful analysis. Many of you have already spent time in Santa Fe educating the legislators about bills that will harm New Mexicans. Thank you. Your time and your commitment (COIR contributors) is what has kept New Mexico’s consumer friendly laws alive and well.