Reforming Workers' Comp

Your editorial "The Monster That Needs to Be Slain" (April 28) is right on target. The current workers' compensation is a nightmare from which the state cannot wake because of the intransigence of the entrenched liberal members of the state Senate's Industrial Relations Committee.

I introduced nine bills this year that are in line with the governor's Council on Competitiveness recommendations for reform: Eliminate the insurance minimum rate law, increase the threshold for stress claims, reduce medical and legal costs, curb increasing vocational rehabilitation costs and high utilization of dubious benefits. However, the only bill that passed was SB 1630, which would repeal the current insurance minimum rate law and replace it with a pricing system utilizing open competition.

All the rest of the bills died in committee. I am not giving up, though. I have challenged my colleagues to help me reduce workers' compensation costs by no less than $3 billion from the current $11.5-billion system. The high costs of workers' comp are driving businesses and jobs out of the state; further neglect of this fact will only make things worse.

BILL LEONARD

State Senate, R-Big Bear

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