Haslam Signs Workers Compensation Reform Bill

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Governor Bill Haslam Tuesday held a ceremonial bill signing at Clarksville Foundry, Inc. for his workers’ compensation reform legislation, HB 194/SB 200, approved by the General Assembly.

Workers’ compensation premium rates for employers in Tennessee are higher than the national average and higher than all of Tennessee’s bordering states, and the state is one of only two that adjudicated workers’ compensation claims in the trial courts, often delaying benefits to employees and producing inconsistent results, officials said.

The governor’s bill simplifies the system while allowing employees to receive benefits faster and return to work sooner, bringing increased predictability to the business environment. 

“As I traveled the state during my first two years in office, I heard consistently from Tennesseans that reforming workers’ compensation would be a significant step toward improving our business climate and growing jobs,” Governor Haslam said. “Our legislation brings clarity and fairness to the system and builds on our ongoing efforts to make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

The legislation:

Provides disability benefits to an injured worker quicker;
Improves the quality of medical treatment;
Provides a clearer standard for causation and a neutral application of the law;
Allows employees to file claims in a court within the Division of Workers’ Compensation rather than trial court;

And creates a new ombudsman program in the division to help unrepresented employees and employers receive the assistance they need. 

The bill was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville), Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin), House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) and Rep. Kevin Brooks (R-Cleveland).


Supreme Court Affirms Disability Award For Employee With High-Frequency Hearing Loss

The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that an employee is entitled to the full amount of workers’ compensation benefits awarded to him by a trial court. In  2009, Orville Lambdin retired from Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company where he had worked as a tire builder for over 35 years. He later sought workers’ compensation benefits based upon his loss of hearing. At trial, ... (click for more)

Labor Market Is Focus Of Dalton State Business Newsletter

The status of the workforce and labor market statistics of the Northwest Georgia region is the focus of the newest issue of “Business Analytics,” a biannual publication of the Center for Economic Research and Entrepreneurship of Dalton State College’s School of Business. The newsletter, which is available both online and in print, contains an analysis of regional job growth ... (click for more)

State Attorney General Rules Against Erlanger On Closed Meeting Where Management Bonuses Were Discussed

The state attorney general's office has ruled that, under a section of the state Sunshine Law, that the board of a public hospital is not allowed to meet privately to discuss employee bonuses. The Erlanger Health System board recently discussed $1.7 million in management bonuses during a closed-door session. The board then approved the controversial bonuses without discussion ... (click for more)

Chief Fletcher Gives Maximum Punishment To Officer Who Fired At Vehicle That Backed Toward Him; Attorney Vows To Fight To Reverse Decision

Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher has given a maximum punishment to an officer who fired four shots toward a vehicle after he said the driver backed into his vehicle with him standing behind it. Chief Fletcher sustained a finding of “improper use of force – discharge of firearm.” He suspended Officer Alex Olson for 30 days without pay – the maximum suspension allowed ... (click for more)

Shelley Andrews Will Be Missed - And Response

Shelley Andrews was one of the kindest, most thoughtful and most effective laborers in our community.  Her work with the Friends of Moccasin Bend was exemplary.  She listened, she learned and she led with dignity and class. Her brave battle with ovarian cancer was a testament to her positive spirit and commitment to her work on behalf of the people of this region. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Magic Bank Account

As the month of January is almost out the door, I am opening my email today to share a marvelous story that legend has it was printed on piece of paper found in Bear Bryant’s wallet when he died in 1983. While I don’t know that the famed Alabama football coach had this lesson in his wallet, chances are he might have if he’d read it. * * * THE BANK ACCOUNT & RULES Imagine ... (click for more)