Legislative Happenings on WC Reform
As the 99th General Assembly regular session draws to a close on May 31, 2015, workers’ compensation “reform” has been a hot item on Governor Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda. On April 6, 2015, Governor Rauner released a 38-page detailed outline of his Turnaround Agenda. Workers’ Compensation “reform” was the first and most detailed proposal in his outline. Workers’ Compensation has become a bargaining chip in exchange for any increase in the state’s minimum wage and other worker-friendly legislation.
In response, House Speaker Madigan convened a Committee of the Whole on May 5, 2015 to discuss the compensation received by injured workers. This rarely used format allowed the Representatives to examine how Governor Rauner’s proposals would impact the individual injured on the job. A number of speakers testified, including injured workers from both Illinois and neighboring states, so comparisons could be drawn between the various State’s systems. Representatives were able to ask questions from the witnesses.
Several of Governor Rauner’s proposals were introduced on May 22, 2015 by Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs). State Representative Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville) presented floor amendments consistent with what the Governor wanted in his Turnaround Agenda in the House. Democrats unanimously voted against the proposed “reform” legislation while Republicans voted present or did not vote on this particular legislation.
On May 27, 2015, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted down the Governor’s workers’ compensation reform bill. We will update you as the legislative session draws to a close through our email newsletters.