State Lawmakers Begin Recess Without Reaching Agreement on Workers’ Compensation Reform
As expected, lawmakers on Thursday left for the spring recess before reaching an agreement on workers' compensation reform and were placed on 24 hours' notice to return to Sacramento if ongoing negotiations produced a package of bills, the Los Angeles Times reports (Lifsher, Los Angeles Times, 4/2). Legislative leaders dismissed lawmakers on Wednesday when it became apparent that there was not sufficient time for a vote on any possible proposal (California Healthline, 4/1). Senate President Pro Tempore John Burton (D-San Francisco) said that even if an agreement is reached soon, bills would not likely be ready for debate and a vote until the spring recess ends April 12 (Los Angeles Times, 4/2). Earlier this week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), who gave lawmakers until Friday to pass a workers' compensation reform package, said that without an agreement in the near future, he will increase his efforts to qualify a Republican-supported measure for the November statewide ballot. Schwarzenegger and other state officials predicted that negotiators would reach a compromise by the end of the week. However, Republican leaders said negotiators are not yet close to settling their differences. In the event that negotiators fail to reach an agreement on legislation by April 16, supporters of the ballot measure will submit signatures to qualify it to appear on the statewide November ballot (California Healthline, 4/1). The California Manufacturers and Technology Association, which represents 30,000 companies statewide, has announced that it will campaign to help qualify the Republican-backed workers' compensation reform initiative for the November statewide ballot if legislators fail to reach a compromise. The League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties also said they were "prepared to endorse the measure if it qualifies," the Sacramento Bee reports (Chan, Sacramento Bee, 4/2).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.