Calif. State Sen. Poochigian Optimistic on Calif. Workers’ Comp Developments

April 14, 2004

As California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislators look to hammer out a final workers’ compensation bill by Friday, April 16, State Senator Chuck Poochigian (R-Fresno) recently issued the following statement on workers’ comp developments:

“I have been focused on workers’ compensation reform for much of the last two years and believe that we have an historic opportunity to effectively overhaul California’s dysfunctional workers’ comp system. Desire for a deal must not deter us from ensuring that the final product contains the essential elements to significantly cut costs while protecting truly injured workers.

“Governor Schwarzenegger has led the charge on workers’ compensation reform this year and brought the issue to the forefront. His attention to the issue in recent weeks has culminated in a heightened level of intensity toward reaching a legislative compromise. Areas where there is the potential for agreement have been identified, though there are important elements of reform in which we remain apart.

“The fact that we are to a point where language is being drafted is an important sign of progress, but does not mean that a deal is done. Senate Republicans have asked for the drafting of detailed bill language so that we can properly evaluate the proposed legislative deal. On an issue as complex as workers’ compensation reform, it is impossible to do more than speculate on any proposal until it is in bill form.

“The bumpy road on the decades long drive toward repairing the workers’ compensation system is paved with good intentions that didn’t yield the desired result. I am hopeful that the final product that comes out of this year’s efforts will go far enough to very significantly reduce costs.”

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