Bills to overhaul worker’s compensation in Illinois still alive despite vocal opposition

State Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon), the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) and others recently spoke out against two eerily familiar Democrat-sponsored bills that would overhaul worker’s compensation in Illinois.

SB2863, which amends the Employer’s Liability Rates Article of the Illinois Insurance Code, along with HB4595, which amends the Illinois Insurance Code provision concerning the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission Operations Fund surcharge, are identical to bills that never made it out of Springfield last year, according to the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the NAIFA.

“These are absolutely two bad concepts and fall under the description of fake reform and would have a negative impact on Illinois’ work comp system and continue to send the wrong message to employers in Illinois,” NAIFA said on its website. “If they do reach the Governor’s desk we anticipate the Governor will veto them like he did last year.”

Introducing SB2863 at the Senate floor debate this spring, sponsor Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) said it included several items discussed in bipartisan and bicameral working groups.

Righter, however, disagreed.

“The ideas aren’t bipartisan, some of the concepts were,” he said, adding that although GOP and Democrat lawmakers meet and discuss ideas, “certain ideas are picked off that list and put into a bill.”

Righter also wanted to know which groups opposed and which supported the bill.

“I don’t know exhaustively, but I know one of the opponents is the Illinois Policy Institute; you may be familiar with them,” Rauol said, adding some proponents include the Illinois State Med Society, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Illinois AFL-CIO and Illinois Operating Engineers. “The Insurance Association is certainly against the bill.”

Rauol also said while physicians are proponents, he is not certain where the Illinois Hospital Association stands.

Righter said the bill no doubt would get vetoed by the governor again.

“This is a rewind of what we have seen before,” Righter said. “We will be right back where we started… .”

Despite the clear opposition, SB2863 moved out of the Senate by a vote of 34 to 21 while HB4595 passed the House by a vote of 62-43.

This article was first published by SE Illinois News.

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