Dems’ Workers Compensation Reform Bill Passes IL HouseJune 5, 2015
A workers compensation reform measure passed the Illinois House of Representatives on Thursday, over the objections of Governor Bruce Rauner. Voting on the bill was split along party lines, with Democrats voting in favor of the bill and all House Republicans voting against the measure. The workers compensation reform bill passed by nearly a two-thirds majority and highlights a bitter political battle between Democrats in the Legislature and their Republican counterparts, including Gov. Rauner.
Details of the Workers Compensation Reform Bill
The measure passed by the House includes provisions for employee safety classes and adjustments to the workers compensation insurance premiums businesses are required to buy. The workers compensation reform measure also includes a waiver of the self-insurers fee. An amendment to the workers compensation reform bill also allows employees to sue a previous employer for the costs of repetitive injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Another amendment states that workers must prove that their injuries were caused by work-related activities.
Workers Compensation Reform Bill Forces Deficit Spending
A major cause for contention with the Democrats’ workers compensation reform bill is that it would force the state government into spending beyond its current budget. Last week, Gov. Rauner attempted to push through his own workers compensation reform measure that would keep the state’s budget balanced. He also threatened to keep the Legislature in session during the summer if his proposals did not pass. After the House vote, the bill goes on to the Senate. If it passes through the upper chamber, Gov. Rauner is likely to veto the bill.
Republicans: Workers Compensation Reform Bill Will Cripple Businesses
Gov. Rauner proposed his own workers compensation reform measures as an attempt to keep and attract businesses to the state. The governor and other Republicans called for workers compensation reform in response to the low rates in neighboring Indiana. The governor’s office released a press statement after the vote, blaming House Speaker Michael Madigan and other Democrats for “vot(ing) to protect their special interest allies.” He also said that the bill would hurt the state’s efforts to become “more competitive and job-friendly.”
Democrats: Middle Class Needs Workers Compensation Reform Measure
Speaker Madigan also released a statement after the workers compensation reform bill passed. He told reporters that workers compensation reform can happen “without hurting middle-class families.” He refuted concerns that his party’s measure would hurt businesses by saying that the bill “will ensure savings for employers while protecting the livelihoods of injured workers.” He also stated that the budget deficit issue “requires that everybody be reasonable” and that Republican actions were “functioning on the extreme.”
Source: Chicago Sun Times
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