The Missouri Senate on Tuesday night gave first-round approval to a workers’ compensation bill that includes a proposed fix for the state’s ailing Second Injury Fund.
Senate Bill 1 would replenish the fund by temporarily doubling the fees business may be charged, while restricting the types of injuries that would be covered. The sponsor, State Senator Scott Rupp (R, Wentzville), calls it an ideal compromise.
“I think it’s important that nobody is in love with this piece of legislation," Rupp said. "Businesses don’t love it, the trial attorneys don’t love it, labor doesn’t love it – the real winner at the end of the day is the injured worker, and when not everybody is happy that’s usually a sign of a good piece of legislation.”
The bill also addresses workers’ compensation by mandating that occupational disease claims be placed solely within the workers’ comp system, thus shielding employers from multi-million dollar lawsuits. However, it would also create an enhanced benefit for people suffering from certain diseases caused by exposure to toxins. The measure needs one more Senate vote before moving over to the Missouri House.
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