Urge Senators to Pass House Workers’ Comp Bill
Workers’ compensation rate increases are negatively affecting businesses throughout Florida. That’s why the Florida Chamber is supporting workers’ compensation reforms that will help injured workers get the care they need to get healthy and return to work as quickly as possible, and reduce rates driven by unnecessary litigation.
The Florida Senate will consider important reforms May 2 and May 3, which is why we need you to contact Senators immediately and urge them to support the House version of the workers’ comp bill.
The Senate version of the workers’ comp bill, SB 1582, does not go far enough in reducing rates after the $1.5 billion rate increase that took effect in December. In fact, NCCI estimates that the Senate bill will only result in a 0-3 percent savings.
The Florida Chamber supports the House version of the workers’ comp bill, HB 7085, and we need your help in urging Senators to do the same.
Take Action Now:
Florida House Passes Pro-Worker, Pro-Business Workers’ Comp Legislation
Tallahassee (April 19, 2017) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today applauds the Florida House of Representatives for taking a major step toward addressing much-needed reforms to Florida’s broken workers’ compensation system by passing HB 7085, sponsored by Rep. Danny Burgess (R-Zephyrhills).
“For almost a year, attorneys have received a payday on the backs of injured workers, receiving attorney fees in some instances of $400 an hour,” said CAROLYN JOHNSON, Director of Business, Economic Development and Innovation Policy for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “The Florida Chamber commends Chairman Burgess and House leadership for their work on reining in out-of-control attorney fees, preventing unnecessary litigation and helping injured workers get back to work quickly.”
This Florida Chamber-Backed Bill Will:
- Realign the amount of attorney fees to the amount secured for the injured workers,
- Place a cap on attorney fees of $150 per hour,
- Encourage affected employees to avoid drawn-out court proceedings, and
- Reduce rates for job creators.
Florida’s workers’ comp system suffered a major blow in 2016 after the state Supreme Court issued a series of rulings that threw out portions of the system, resulting in a workers’ comp rate increase of 14.5 percent, or $1.5 billion, beginning Dec. 1. This rate hike was not accompanied by additional benefits for injured workers, but instead meant additional income to attorneys.
HB 7085 now travels to the Florida Senate for legislative action. The Florida Chamber looks forward to working with the members of the Senate to enact workers’ comp legislation that supports jobs for Florida’s families and strengthens our state’s economic competitiveness.
Email Your Lawmakers Before Noon on Wednesday and Tell Them to Fix Workers’ Comp Now
The Florida House is set to hear a Florida Chamber-backed workers’ comp bill on Wednesday — lawmakers need to hear from you no later than noon on April 19.
This week the Florida House will take up HB 7085 and HB 1107, two pieces of legislation that go a long way toward fixing Florida’s broken workers’ comp system. These bills would reduce cost drivers within the workers’ comp system, avoid drawn-out claims and allow injured workers to get back to work sooner. The House is expected to vote on this important issue Wednesday afternoon.
The 2016 Castellanos Supreme Court decision on workers’ compensation put Florida’s workers’ compensation system in a fragile position – for everybody except the plaintiff trial bar. Workers’ comp rates rose by 14.5 percent, an increase of $1.5 billion on the backs of businesses, without adding any additional benefits for injured workers. Instead, it gave trial lawyers a big pay raise in the form of out-of-control attorney fees – sometimes as high as $400 per hour.
Take Action Now
Contact your legislators today and let them know you want their support for the unammended forms of HB 7085 and HB 1107. Join the Florida Chamber’s Workers’ Compensation Task Force to help us fight for Florida’s future, or contact Carolyn Johnson to add your name to the list.
Workers’ Comp Reform On The Move
Today, the Florida House passed several improvements to its workers’ compensation proposal out of the Commerce Committee. The Florida Chamber of Commerce was there to champion the voice of job creators and defeat trial lawyer amendments that would have taken Florida’s workers’ comp system backward.
The Florida Chamber’s Workers’ Comp Task Force has been actively working to resolve a $1.5 billion cost increase on the business community, and today’s legislative hearing was a positive step toward resolution. Thanks to the work of Chairman Danny Burgess (R-Zephyrhills), and with the support of a wide-ranging business community coalition, the bill that passed today contained a cap of $150 an hour for plaintiff’s attorneys fees, added protections for injured workers and further narrowed instances when plaintiff’s attorneys can receive fees.
Additionally, HB 7085 and a separate proposal, HB 1107, sponsored by Rep. Ben Albritton (R-Bartow), would:
- Reduce workers’ comp rates,
- Decrease unnecessary litigation, and
- Protect injured workers private information from solicitors.
The Florida Chamber’s workers’ comp reform focus has been on quickly getting injured workers well and back on the job, while reducing rates and bringing stability to the overall system. This effort stands in contrast to Florida’s trial lawyer lobby, which backed amendments today that would limit employers’ abilities to defend themselves against frivolous lawsuits while allowing claimant attorney fees to run rampant without benefit accrual to the claimant.
While today was a step in the right direction, we are a long way to the finish line and fixing our broken system. We expect additional amendments to be filed on the House bill during consideration on the floor. We will continue reaching out, keeping you apprised of the latest legislative action on this important issue, and seeking your help in getting workers’ comp reform across the finish line.
Take Action Now