This looks like a very modest year for workers’ comp legislation. I’ll give a snapshot of what’s in the hopper in my coming mid-year recap of 2019 California workers’ comp developments.
But are there big changes on the horizon? After all, we are in in 2019, some seven years after the Gov. Jerry Brown reforms and some 15 years after the Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reforms.
Dan Walters seems to think so. Walters, who for decades covered the Sacramento political scene for the Sacramento Bee, has frequently had his eye focused on what's over the horizon.
Walters now writes for calmatters.org, a nonprofit that sponsors a worthy website covering California policy and politics. Walters suggests that there is increasing momentum to do some significant reforms of California’s comp system. This is his analysis.
But 2019 would not be the year for this.
What is unclear to me is what appetite the Gov. Gavin Newsom administration would have for any significant change in the current system, with insurance rates at a low level and the system largely off the radar.
After all, workers’ comp may be a critical thing to injured workers and system stakeholders, but it is far, far down the list of the California’s perceived problems with housing, water, income inequality, transit, criminal justice reform, immigration policy and the environment taking up the oxygen in the room.
Try talking workers’ comp with strangers in a sports bar. You’ll likely get a bunch of blank stares.
Ultimately, Walters may be correct, however. There will always be rounds of reforms to California’s system. The question is when, and what coalition has the power to push their agenda forward.
If that coalition is sufficiently broad, Newsom would likely get on board.
Julius Young is a claimants' attorney for the Boxer & Gerson law firm in Oakland. This column was reprinted with his permission from his blog, www.workerscompzone.com.
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