New Workers Compensation Bills Introduced

Illinois State Representative Dwight Kay, Republican of Glen Carbon, has introduced four bills proposing changes in the state’s workers’ compensation system. The bills received testimony in the House Labor & Commerce Committee but have not yet been called to a vote.

The bills, House Bills 1245, 1246, 2229 and 2769, are four of nine bills involving the workers’ compensation system introduced by Kay this session.

HB 2229 is opposed by the Illinois Trial Lawyers’ Association (ITLA), the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois (AFFI) and other groups. The bill aims to change current workers’ compensation law, which puts emergency medical technicians (EMTs) in the same category as firefighters for purposes of employers purchasing workers’ compensation insurance. Under the new bill, those provisions of the law would only be applicable to EMTs who are also cross-trained as firefighters. Kay said current law places an undue burden on municipalities and counties that pay the increased amount for workers’ compensation insurance for EMTs.

HB 2769, also introduced by Kay, would change workers’ compensation law such that any amount awarded for a partial disability would be subtracted from any amount awarded for a later injury to the same part of the body, and would limit partial disability payments to 500 weeks, which would constitute total disability. Kay said the changes would prevent situations in which partial disability awards amounted to more than what a total disability award would have been.

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