A controversial proposal to make major changes to the state's workers compensation law has cleared the state Senate. The measure would reduce an injured worker's payments by the amount an insurance company thinks the worker could make at another job. Police officers and firefighters would be exempt from the bill.
Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville says the proposal will help get rid of fraudulent workers comp claims.
"What we're intending to do is to encourage those people who are unemployed to find jobs, most of the people, and I've talked to a number of people, in blue collar and white collar situations as well, that really do want to get back to work," he says. "There's a handful, and it's a small group, that don't necessarily want to, and want to milk the system as much as possible."
Those who oppose the measure say it will put undue stress on families and the legal system.
"Right now in workers comp, about 10 percent of the cases actually get litigated or find their way to an attorney's office. With these changes that they are now talking about putting in this legislation, it'll be more like 90 percent," says Rick Warsh, a workers compensation lawyer.
The workers comp bill goes back to the state House.