Missouri Senate passes rules for vetting expert witnesses

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The Missouri Senate has passed a bill that would establish a new standard for vetting expert witnesses in jury trials.

The proposal, which passed Wednesday with a 21-11 vote, would allow judges to decide whether experts’ testimony would be reliable and based on “sufficient facts” and other criteria. The bill now goes to the governor’s desk.

Supporters of the proposal say it would deter people from filing frivolous lawsuits and allow judges to act as gatekeepers for the quality of witnesses. Opponents say it would make cases more expensive by requiring more time from attorneys and more money to bring experts to a pretrial hearing.

It appears likely to become law. Republican Gov. Eric Greitens called on the Legislature to adopt this standard in his State of the State address.