Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch, a business-backed group that aims to restrict lawsuits, launched a "Small Business Summer" tour with a news conference Tuesday in Fairview Heights.
Travis Akin, I-LAW's director, said "just one abusive lawsuit can mean the difference in whether a small business succeeds or fails."
Akin said small businesses account for more than two-thirds of job creation, and added that Illinois has the second-worst unemployment rate in the country.
Also on hand was Paul Braun, owner of William F. Braun Milk Hauling in Hecker, who said fighting junk lawsuits is "money down the drain." Braun added: "We need a better jobs and business climate here in Illinois, and reforming our courts is a good place to start."
State Rep. Dwight Kay, R-Glen Carbon, said meaningful reforms are needed.
"In the last couple of years, the state of Wisconsin has made legal reform a priority in the legislative process," Kay said. "In just a matter of a few years, the state government there has gone from a deficit in the billions to a surplus. We need to learn from our neighbors to the north and make lawsuit reform a priority."
Akin said about one-third of all small business owners in Illinois say they've been sued at least once.