That nonsense factory formerly known as the Mississippi Legislature is about to crank out another winner.
Upon further review of the SB 2576 conference report, I can safely say that the changes made by the conferees were cosmetic and did little to take Mississippi workers out of the cross-hairs. The bill still removes the Supreme Court's requirment that the Workers' Compensation Act be liberally construed to achieve its beneficent purpose. The bill still changes the definition of the primary purpose of the Workers' Compensation Law. The bill still limits an employee's ability to select a physician of his or her choice. The bill still fails to define what will constitute voluntary benefits subject to attorneys' fees. The drug testing provisions have gotten worse with the removal of a probable cause requirement. The bill still allows an employer to be immune from any action of defamation of character regardless of how extreme the employer's conduct is towards their employee. Contrary to previous Supreme Court rulings, the bill still provides for apportionment regardless of whether the pre-existing condition had an occupational effect. And finally, the bill still harms workers through its change of the very purpose of the Act and the manner in which the Act is to be construed.
Soon, you will likely be able to add this to the growing list of bills sure to draw a court challenge once the legislative session is over.