Workers' comp bill passes House and goes to governor
The workers' compensation reform bill, House Bill 2, passed a Kentucky House vote of 55-39 late Tuesday afternoon. It will now go to Gov. Matt Bevin's desk to be signed into law.
HB 2 will revamp Kentucky's workers' compensation system to provide quality care to injured workers and keep workers' comp insurance affordable for employers. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig and was filed to help offset the damage to the insurance system by a 2017 Kentucky Supreme Court ruling in Parker v. Webster County Coal. That ruling wouldn't have allowed the termination of workers' comp income once an injured worker qualifies for Social Security.
“These are measures that only make us more competitive,” Koenig said of the provisions in HB 2 as amended in the Senate last week.
HB 2 was described as providing “a fair system for which workers who are injured will be paid,” by Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, when the bill was amended in the Senate last week.
Under HB 2, as amended by the Senate, workers’ compensation medical benefits would have to be paid to certain permanently partially disabled workers beyond 15 years if a state administrative law judge deems the benefits medically necessary. The bill would also add to the list of injuries for which benefits must be paid as long as there is a disability, among other provisions.
An additional Senate change agreed to by the House would extend the period for all workers’ comp income benefits to age 70 or four years after the date of the injury, whichever comes last.