Reps. DeBolt and Condotta say workers’ compensation reform bill is a step in the right direction
Lead legislator for House Republicans says much-needed workers' compensation reform bill will protect workers and help employers
The House of Representatives today passed a much-needed workers' compensation reform bill for employers and workers. House Bill 2123 would provide structured settlement agreements for injured workers.
Rep. Cary Condotta, the ranking Republican on the House Labor and Workforce Development Committee, says the bill isn't everything House Republicans wanted, but it is a good first step.
“This bill has the best interests of the workers in mind while protecting our employers from large increases in their workers' compensation rates,” said Condotta, R-East Wenatchee. “Given the political landscape of Olympia I think this is a reasonable compromise. There are some unknowns with the structured settlement agreements, but they provide injured workers options and begin to address the problems with our workers' compensation system.”
House Republicans felt reforming the system was a key issue for employers and employees coming into the regular session.
“From the beginning of the session our priority has been to get Washington working again,” House Republican Leader Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis. “I believe the passage of this legislation is an important first step in saving jobs and protecting workers. Although we had hoped for stronger reforms, I think House Bill 2123 will begin to fix our broken workers' compensation system, avoid double-digit rate increases and create an economic climate that gives employers the certainty they need to create jobs.”
Total workers' compensation benefits paid in Washington grew from $1.3 billion in 1998 to $2.2 billion in 2008. That is an increase of 70 percent, compared to 34 percent growth for all other states.
The measure is projected to save the state workers' compensation system $1.1 billion over four years.
House Bill 2123 passed by a vote of 69-26.
Kurt Hammond, Public Information Officer, (360) 786-7794
###Washington State House Republican Communications