Senate Bill 5112 provides that retrospective rating plan employers and groups may assist the Department of Labor & Industries in the processing of claims. It also authorizes claims representatives for retrospective rating plan employers and groups to schedule medical examinations and consultations, and schedule vocational rehabilitation assessments. The bill passed 25-24 in the Senate on Feb. 4.
Sens. Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond, and Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquaim, voted against the bill.
Senate Bill 5127, Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5127: Amending provisions governing structured settlements by removing age barriers and clarifying legislative intent. Passed 30-19 in the Senate on February 4, 2013. Notice of Reconsideration given.
Senate Bill 5127 provides that structured settlements are available for workers who are at least 40 years of age, instead of at age 55. A best interest determination is not a requirement of a settlement agreement for represented workers. The legislation states that it is a clarification of the Legislature’s original intent, and applies retroactively. The bill passed 30-19 in the Senate on Feb. 4.
Hatfield and Hargrove voted for the bill.
Senate Bill 5128 repeals the existing structured settlement program and replaces it with a new settlement program. Starting September 1, 2013, parties to an allowed claim for workers compensation benefits may resolve a claim for all workers compensation benefits other than medical. Settlement agreements must be submitted to, and approved by, the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals (BIIA) if it finds that the parties have entered into the agreement knowingly and willingly. If the injured worker is unrepresented, a settlement officer at the BIIA must review the settlement agreement, explain to the worker the benefits generally available, ensure the worker has an adequate understanding of the proposal and its consequences, and can approve the settlement only if it is in the best interest of the worker. The bill passed 25-24 in the Senate on Feb. 4.
Hatfield and Hargrove voted against the bill.