Senate Confirms Hoch as Director of Division of Workers’ Compensation
The Senate on Thursday confirmed Andrea Hoch as director of the Division of Workers' Compensation on a 21-10 vote, the AP/San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Lawrence, AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/29). All 15 Senate Republicans and six Democrats voted to confirm Hoch, who faced opposition from workers' compensation attorneys and union leaders over rules she implemented that critics maintain will reduce permanent disability benefits for seriously injured workers. Nine Senate Democrats abstained from the vote.
Hoch, who has held the position for almost one year, was expected to receive Senate confirmation after Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) endorsed her on Wednesday (Chan, Sacramento Bee, 4/29). Perata said that he has received assurances from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) that the state would investigate whether the rules implemented by Hoch would unfairly reduce disability benefits for workers.
Angie Wei, legislative director of the California Labor Federation, said, "We're disappointed and shocked that the Senate has confirmed Andrea Hoch. Clearly the law has been violated. Injured workers are suffering unjustly" (Avalos, Contra Costa Times, 4/29).
Hoch said, "I'm relieved this part of the process is complete and we can get back to the tasks at hand" (Lifsher, Los Angeles Times, 4/29).