Davis Vetoes Increases in Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Facing the Oct. 14 deadline to sign bills passed in the most recent legislative session, Gov. Gray Davis (D) rejected legislation that would have increased benefits under state workers' compensation laws, the New York Times reports. The bill, SB 71, sponsored by state Sen. John Burton (D-San Francisco), would have raised the cap on payments to injured workers from $490 a week to $651 a week (Nieves, New York Times, 10/16). In addition, the legislation would have increased benefits for "partial disabilities" from $230 to $270 a week (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 10/16). In his veto message, Davis said that he "strongly" supported increased benefits, but could not sign the bill "in these shaky economic times." Analysts estimated that the bill would have increased costs for businesses by $2.5 billion to $3.7 billion (Milbourn, Orange County Register, 10/16). According to Burton, the bill would have saved employers $1 billion in expenses "in return" for the increased benefits (Lucas, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/16). Davis "urged" the state Legislature to draft a "comprehensive bill" for the next legislative session. However, Burton "may not wait for the legislative solution" and introduce the measure as a ballot initiative (Orange County Register, 10/16). Davis, who has vetoed workers' compensation bills for the past three years, also rejected a companion bill (AB 1176), sponsored by Assembly member Thomas Calderon (D-Montebello) (Sacramento Bee, 10/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.