State Lawmakers To Form Conference Committee To Address Workers’ Compensation Bills
State lawmakers plan to form a conference committee to discuss the 20 bills introduced in the Assembly and Senate this legislative session to address the increased cost of the state workers' compensation program, Sen. Richard Alarcon (D-Los Angeles) said yesterday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee and the Assembly Insurance Committee will consider the bills today before the legislation moves to the conference committee, which will include four unnamed Democrats and two unnamed Republicans (Sarkar, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/9). Alarcon, chair of the Senate committee, said that the committees would amend the bills today to make them intent bills, a step required to move them to the conference committee (AP/Los Angeles Times, 7/9). The conference committee, which will meet within two weeks, will likely fold the 20 bills into five or 10 bills and "give everyone involved a stake in the outcome," Alarcon said, the AP/Orange County Register reports. Alarcon said that the committee will protect the bills from opposition by interest groups, adding, "Taking this bill-by-bill doesn't give you the whole picture all at once. ... I believe conference will provide the best opportunity for us to fashion not only one piece of legislation but several pieces to spread the burden of addressing the cost of workers' comp" (AP/Orange County Register, 7/9). The state workers' compensation program has become a "political hot button" this year as many businesses have threatened to leave the state because average premiums have doubled in the past three years and medical costs per claim have quadrupled over the past 10 years, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Laing, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/9).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.