State officials ask legislature to merge Labor and Public Protection Cabinets to improve efficiency

In a meeting of the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Committee on Tuesday, officials from the Kentucky Labor Cabinet presented to the committee on a reorganization of several offices of state government.

Labor Cabinet Secretary David Dickerson unveiled a plan that would merge the current Labor and Public Protection cabinets into the new Public and Worker Protection Cabinet, which will also house the Department of Insurance.

The Cabinet says that through efficiencies, it is estimated that this merger would save the state approximately $1.6 million. In addition, they testified that employers could see long term savings in workers’ compensation costs through efficiency and improved administration, as the Department of Workers’ Claims would be in the new merged cabinet.

Officials say the new Department of Workers’ Claims office will help the Cabinet adjudicate free from the perception they are subject to a political agenda, while also helping to implement House Bill 2 from 2018, workers’ compensation reform.

If a bill to merge the Cabinets were to pass in the 2019 General Assembly, cabinet officials said the transition would occur in July 2019.  As of the committee meeting, the bill had not been filed yet.

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