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BOISE -- A bill that could pit lawyers against insurance companies gained traction when the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee voted to send it to a full hearing.

Sen. John Goedde, the bill's main sponsor, said the proposal updates a decades-old law that sets the prejudgment interest at a hefty 12 percent.

This can add tens of thousands of dollars to judgments before a court rules.

The new bill could set the interest rates at five percent plus yearly adjustments determined by Idaho's state treasurer.

The proposal comes on the heels of two Boise class-action lawsuits in which attorneys were allowed to collect the 12 percent interest on multi-million dollar judgments against insurance companies.

Goedde called the surcharges in these cases unconscionable.

Trial lawyers' lobbyist Barbara Jorden didn't immediately comment.

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