With Kentucky’s workers’ compensation system not seeing updates in over 20 years, a bill to bring reforms to the outdated system, provide better care for injured workers and ensure more affordable workers’ compensation costs for Kentucky businesses is being supported by many sectors and industries, bill sponsor Rep. Adam Koenig says.
In an exclusive interview with The Bottom Line, Koenig said House Bill 2 will not only update the state’s outdated system but will increase attorney’s fees in these cases, raise the average weekly wage for workers, and many other changes.
“It is past time we start joining the rest of the states in having a workers’ compensation system that makes sense and is competitive,” Koenig said.
Koenig said there are many common misconceptions about the legislation, including who is eligible for benefits and what workers the reforms will impact.
“If you are unable to work today, or you are unable to work in the future, you will still continue to receive lifetime benefits as you should,” Koenig said.
The legislation, Koenig said, contains improvements from the bill heard in the General Assembly during the 2017 session and is the product of work by groups on both sides of the aisle and across many different sectors.
House Bill 2 is supported by the Kentucky Chamber, Kentucky Retail Federation, Kentucky League of Cities, Kentucky School Board Association, Kentucky Association of Counties, Kentucky Guild of Brewers, Kentucky Association of Economic Development, UPS, Ford, Toyota, and many others.
Koenig noted many of the public-sector groups supporting the legislation and added government is “going to dump a lot of additional financial and responsibility with the pensions and this is an opportunity for them to save some money and get better outcomes for their workers.”
The strong support of the business community in Kentucky was also noted by Koenig with many of the state’s largest employers backing the bill because “they all see the importance of providing better benefits to their employees as well as saving money that’s going to occur from this bill.”
“I believe we will get this done this year because it is that important to any organization that hires people,” Koenig said.
House Bill 2 passed out of a House committee Thursday and now moves to the floor for a vote.