Strong opposition from the Santa Clara, County Coalition of Chambers and CalChamber has stopped a “job killer” bill from 2013 that would have resulted in dramatic workers’ compensation cost increases for employers.
Last week, at the author’s request, SB 626 (Beall; D-San Jose) was pulled from the hearing agenda for the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee. The bill therefore missed the January 17 legislative deadline to pass from policy committee to fiscal committee in the house in which it was introduced. SB 626 would have resulted in employers paying nearly $1 billion in benefit increases to injured workers without an expectation that the increases will be fully offset by system savings.
The job killer bill would have distorted the entire balance of the 2012 workers’ compensation reform deal, SB 863 (De León; D-Los Angeles; Chapter 363), that provides injured workers with needed benefit increases. However, the bill offsets these increased costs by closing certain loopholes and making California’s workers’ compensation system operate more efficiently with fewer disputes and litigation.
SB 626 would have left California employers worse off than they were before the reforms. Not only would they have faced pre-reform escalating costs, they would have been burdened by an additional $1 billion in benefit increases with no expectation that this cost will be offset by projected system savings. SB 626 would have been a giant step backwards for California employers during the current fragile economic recovery.
Additionally, SB 626 would have reversed a bipartisan labor-employer compromise. These types of agreements between key stakeholders that enjoy overwhelmingly bipartisan approval should be encouraged and protected, not attacked and diluted.
Please join us at our next Government Relations Committee meeting on February 4 at 8am at the Chamber office. Ken Yeager, Santa Clara County Board Supervisor, will be our guest speaker.
Steve Van Dorn
Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce & Convention-Visitors Bureau
President and CEO