Senate Democrats have passed a workers’ comp bill over the strong objections of the business community.
Despite what Senate Bill 162’s supports say, the measure would do little to save employers money.
SB 162 was cobbled together at the last minute and combines elements of a bill passed by the House as well as measures the Senate Democrats have been pitching to Gov. Bruce Rauner. Unfortunately, in the area of reforming Illinois’ “causation” standard,
SB 162 simply codifies current law leaving employers with the same expensive system.
Illinois has the 7th highest cost of workers’ compensation in the United States with workers’ compensation costs consistently cited as one of the primary reasons that companies move out of state or choose not to invest capital and grow jobs in Illinois.
NFIB/Illinois opposes SB 162 because it fails to reform the significant cost drivers within the workers’ compensation system. It contains the following:
- Codifies the current “any cause” standard as to whether an employer is responsible for an injury;
- Doubles down on the bad decisions by our Courts by codifying the expanded liability of Illinois employers for traveling employees;
- Mandates the Commission procure an updated IT system by January 1, 2017;
- Establishes a Commission tasked with updating the Workers’ Compensation Code;
- Moves the Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit from the Department of Insurance to the Worker’s Compensation Commission;
- Establishes an Ombudsman Program within the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
The bill passed 36-19 with all Republicans voting “no” and one Democrat (Sen. Bill Haine) voting present.
Photo of the Illinois State Capitol by Nicopoley/Wikimedia Commons