Monday, April 30, 2012

Republicans on verge of buying Mississippi another lawsuit with Workers Compensation Destruction Act

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. 


James said...

Matt, your true colors are showing. For the past twenty minutes, Senators Hob Bryan (as you know, a "D") has been at the podium fighting AGAINST a tax increase that the conference committee has proposed. And it appears that the Repub leadership is supporting this tax increase.

But you have not said a word about it. If this was the other way around, you would be commenting on each and every word. But NO> Not this time. Why?

Because this tax increase is for 'leadership' of Jackson (what an oxymoron). And the Dems are all for this increase because it gives the City more of our tax dollars to spend.

You never cease to amaze me. You've spent the entire session trying to critize the Repub leadership of the legislature. And here you have a perfect opportunity, and its being led by one of your best. But you ignore this one.

Not hard to understand why. But the hypocrasy is beyond belife. Thanks for keeping us entertained!

Cottonmouth said...

James, I do have a day job. When this was supposedly going on, I was otherwise disposed. You're going to have to fill me in on what went down.

James said...

It was a great debate. Bryan impassionate speech against the Conference Report allowing Jackson (and Metro area?) imposing a 1% sales tax increase - same as last year but removed the "oversight committee". Thirty minutes or more. Followed by Flowers (who didn't sign the Conf Report) who started by saying he agreed with everything Bryan said.

So - the Repubs in Senate were allowing a tax increase. Most Jxn area Dems supporting, but overall Dems opposed. Repubs split. Passed 29 to 17. 46 votes so 28 required. Motion to hold.

Just was the opposite of the norm in many ways, but since it was going to allow Jackson more money to waste, just appears that there was no news here for CM.

As impassioned as Bryan was - one of his best this year IMO - would have normally raised the temp level at CM. But not this time - the other half (Cecil and Jxn buddies) were all for it. Figured that's why you had to stand on sideline. But actually, you were over at House watching the Worker's Comp situation in Mississippi finally give a level playing field to all.

Cottonmouth said...

So, let me get this straight: Jackson would have the ability to levy a 1% tax increase on sales made inside the city limits to fund EPA-mandated water & sewer improvements if 20% of the registered voters signed a petition to vote on it, and 60% of voters at said election were in support of it? And the metro area municipalities (who utilize Jackson water) would be able to follow the same procedure to chip in?

I'm not sure how I can be against that. It's not like we'd be taxing folks in Shubuta to pay for better water and sewer in the Capitol City, right?

Cottonmouth said...

Oh, and James, the problem with the Workers Compensation Destruction Bill is that the Workers Compensation Act is supposed to be construed in favor of the worker. Why, you ask? Because the worker has given up his right to sue the employer in court. The worker gets a system tilted in his favor in exchange for drastically reduced damage awards. The employer (or insurance company) is presumed liable for the injury, but damages are capped at a very low rate.

That was the bargain that was made to move to the workers compensation system in the first place. It was determined long ago that this system would keep workers working and prevent the families of injured workers from going on public assistance. Now if y'all want to undo that system, I'd like to be the first to welcome the employers of Mississippi to the Circuit Court for the First Judicial District of Hinds County.