Heyl Royster

 


Heyl Royster

 

Legislative Review

3/29/17

By: Bruce Bonds, bbonds@heylroyster.com

"What’s going on in Springfield?" is a common topic of discussion among workers’ compensation practitioners. In the ongoing attempts by the State to craft a budget agreeable to all sides, and as part of Governor Rauner’s “grand bargain,” many proposed changes to the Workers’ Compensation Act have been submitted. 

Representatives of the employer community have proposed revising the current expansive compensability of injuries to traveling employees, providing credits for body as a whole settlements, and that the work activity be the “primary cause” of the injury. Representatives of employees continue to seek a state-funded workers’ compensation insurance company to compete with the private market in the belief that will reduce premiums. Other proposals would create a right of contribution for repetitive and cumulative trauma injuries and impose new penalties on employers for the delay of authorization of medical care. It is impossible to predict what, if anything, will come of these ongoing negotiations which will likely culminate as the legislative session comes to an end at the end of May.

Of note, a committee of 28 attorneys, arbitrators and commissioners completed work on revisions to the Rules Governing Practice under the Workers’ Compensation Commission which were approved by the Workers’ Compensation Commission in late October. Perhaps the most important change was the implementation of new rules to utilize electronic filing databases; the details are still being worked out.