NASHVILLE — Gov. Bill Haslam’s workers’ compensation overhaul cleared its first full House committee today.
House Consumer and Human Resources Committee members approved the legislation after nearly two hours of testimony from businessmen and business organizations supporting it and labor officials and attorneys, who oppose it.
The bill’s main thrust is removing jurisdiction over injured workers’ claims from state courts and directing them into a commission. Haslam’s bill also changes some key definitions on claims, affecting employer responsibility.
Proponents says the bill, handled by Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, removes the unpredictability businesses and workers encounter now in dozens of courts where outcomes can vary depending on who the judge is.
Opponents say it would make it easier to deny injured workers just compensation for on-the-job mishaps.
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...