Calif. Lawmakers Form Workers’ Comp Reform Committee

July 10, 2003

California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi commended lawmakers July 9 for moving workers’ compensation bills into a Legislative Conference Committee, and consequently moving the reform of the system closer to passage.

The Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee and the Assembly Insurance Committee forwarded all workers’ comp bills, including those contained in the Garamendi Reform Plan, to the conference committee, which will convene later in this session.

“This is a good move for this much needed legislation,” Garamendi said. “The conference committee allows legislators to combine good ideas from all of the bills into legislation that will bring substantial, immediate reform to this ailing system.”

Garamendi has worked with the legislature since taking office in January to bring about reform of the $29 billion system. Skyrocketing premiums have forced employers to scale back on benefits, cut pay, lay off workers, and in some cases close their doors. His legislative package attacks the major cost drivers within workers’ comp insurance by advocating medical cost controls, setting protocols for using the system, intensifying fraud enforcement, reducing unnecessary litigation, and simplifying the complex system.

While serving on the conference committee, members of the Senate and Assembly will jointly work out the specifics of the legislation. The members of the committee have not yet been named.

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