The Workers’ Compensation Reform Act of 2013, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brooks (R–Cleveland)
, passed the Tennessee House of Representatives on Thursday with bipartisan support from state lawmakers.
The bill, which is part of Governor Bill Haslam’s legislative agenda for the year, was given to Rep. Brooks to shepherd through the House committee and floor process by House Leader Gerald McCormick (R–Chattanooga).
Workers’ Compensation is an insurance program, adopted in Tennessee in 1919, that compensates employees for injuries they suffer on the job. Employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover the costs of medical expenses and loss wages of employees when they suffer work-related injuries.
As passed, the Workers’ Compensation Reform Act (House Bill 194) "reforms the workers’ compensation system in Tennessee to provide more certainty for businesses while also protecting interests of employees across the state," Rep. Brooks said.
He stated, “This bill is a well-thought out piece of legislation that meets our overall goal of ensuring the most efficient and fair workers’ compensation system for both employers and employees. Overall, we believe our new system can be a model of excellence that will help our state become and even more attractive place to work and do business.”
Once signed by Governor Haslam, HB 194 will reduce the time it takes to receive permanent workers’ compensation benefits and improve injury medical treatment. In addition, the process for resolving workers’ comp disputes will be streamlined, allowing injured workers to receive compensation and return to work quicker, he said.
“I would like to thank Governor Haslam and Leader McCormick for allowing me to carry this important legislation,” continued Rep. Brooks. “As well, special thanks to Abbie Hudgens, Warren Wells, and the rest of the Haslam team for their excellent work on this much-needed reform bill.”
Kevin Brooks is a member of the House Finance, Ways & Means and House Education Committees.