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Worker’s Compensation and the Illinois Budget


How Worker’s Compensation Legislation is Tied to the Current Illinois Budget Debate

As the debate over the Illinois Budget continues in Springfield, it’s hard to see beyond the headlines of budget cuts, proposed spending, and special interests vying for attention.

But as the financial future of the state has yet to be determined, Democrats have sent a definitive message to Gov. Rauner concerning workers’ compensation rights. On May 28, the Chicago Tribune reported that Senate and House Democrats, in an 8 – 4 vote, blocked a proposed overhaul of the state’s workers’ compensation system as well as other proposed budget cuts.

Specifically mentioned in the legislation was language “on causation, traveling employees, a reduction in the medical fee schedule and AMA guidelines, all designed to make it harder for injured workers to receive fair compensation” (Cooney, John).

NPR reported how worker compensation reform didn’t even go beyond a Senate committee and quoted Sen. Kwame Raoul from Chicago who pointed out that just because IN has lower a lower worker compensation base rate, doesn’t mean IL should follow.

“You can’t just look at another state and say that they’re more competitive. You also have to look at how they’re treating their employees,” Raoul said. – NPR News

The previous block by state Democrats is a win for workers, but the debate is unlikely to end here as a State Budget was not adopted by the May 31 deadline, and according to the Madison St. Clair Record, Gov. Rauner still insists on elements of his “Turnaround Agenda” be included in any budget negotiation.