MSIA Legislative Report - April 20, 2012
There was clearly an uptick in momentum this week. With budget debate scheduled to begin next week, the Senate seemed to be working through as many controversial bills as possible in consideration of the approaching budget log jam. Rumor has it, one particular Senator has over 200 amendments ready and waiting.
Earlier this week. the Senate Small Business and Insurance Committee heard HCS for HB 1403 filed by Representative Dave Schatz. This bill is similar, although not identical, to SB 572 when it was originally filed. It is widely believed that HB 1403 could become the vehicle for the new version of the co-employee, occupational disease and possibly Second Injury Fund modifications. A number of the business groups who have been working on these issues testified in support of the bill.
Since the veto of SB 572 by the Governor and the attempt to find a bill he will sign, the new discussions have resulted in all three issues being packaged together. It is believed that in order to gain passage of anything dealing with the SIF, it must be an elimination of the Fund. This is due to Senator Jason Crowell’s position that an elimination of the SIF is the only solution he will support and he would prevent any other bills modifying how the SIF operates from passing. The elimination of the SIF could result in all previous SIF claims and preexisting conditions relating to those claims now being assumed by the business and insurance community paying the 3% surcharge. But in order to make the elimination of the SIF work, it would take an increase in the surcharge to run off those claims. Numbers kicked around are 6-7%.
The discussions internally within the business community on what the collective group can support is ongoing. However, some of us are beginning to raise concern over the impact of the OD changes, which are part of what must be accepted, and now the possible costs related to the elimination of the SIF and future claims you would be assuming with no SIF in existence.
HCS for HB 1403 was not voted out of committee this week but could come up next week. We will keep you posted.
The General Assembly will reconvene at 4:00 p.m. on Monday. Four weeks to go!
Attached is a current Bill Summary and Status Report. As always, should you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact the office.