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Missouri House takes another swing at workers' comp effort

Missouri House takes another swing at workers' comp effort

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JEFFERSON CITY • Missouri House members appear to be looking for a way around Gov. Jay Nixon’s recent veto of a workers’ compensation bill.

The chamber this morning gave initial approval to a bill that - after amended - now closely resembles the vetoed bill, which would direct occupational disease cases to the workers’ compensation system rather than civil court.

The legislation needs another vote in the House before it can be sent to the Senate.

Nixon vetoed the first bill earlier this month with a note that said he did not think it was fair to workers.

This morning, House members held an often heated debate on the new legislation, repeating many of the same arguments from the earlier bill.

The new bill also addresses the state’s Second Injury Fund, which has faced financial struggles since lawmakers capped the surcharge that funds the program.

Bill sponsor Rep. David Schatz, R-Sullivan, said he thought coupling the two workers’ comp issues could create more incentive for compromise.

Because the governor has already opposed similar legislation, Rep. Jacob Hummel, D-St. Louis, suggested that the bill’s supporters are pandering to business interest groups.

The workers compensation bill was one of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s key priorities for the legislative session.

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