Posted by Del on February 13, 1999 at 12:18:53:
Ohio Voters Say No to Workers Comp Reform Bill Would Have Virtually Eliminated Repetitive Stress and Many Other Workers Comp Claims
Wednesday, Nov. 5, 1997
Ohio voters soundly rejected a proposed reform of Ohio's workers' compensation system yesterday, ending a
bitter multimillion-dollar campaign that pitted Democrats against Republicans, organized labor and trial lawyers against business and industry.
Unofficial returns show the bill was defeated 57 percent to 43 percent.
At issue was a referendum on Senate Bill 45, passed in April by the Republican-dominated General Assembly
and signed by Republican Gov. George V. Voinovich. Republicans and business interests promoted the massive revision as a streamlining of workers' compensation laws to eliminate much litigation, fraud, and abuse in the claims system.
Democrats and organized labor branded it an effort by corporate interests to steal deserved benefits from
workers injured or sickened on the job. The unions, in a coalition with trial lawyers, circulated a statewide
petition to put the referendum on the ballot.
Supporters of the bill claim it was simply too complex for most voters to understand. Opponents say that the only part you needed to understand is that the bill would have virtually eliminated all workers' comp claims arising from repetitive stress, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, and many back injuries, as well as many claims arising from diseases caused by jobsite exposure to hazardous chemicals, such as silicosis, asbestosis, and other lung disease.
Trade unionists and workers' comp experts had been watching the referendum closely. Workers' comp is coming under attack in many states, but the Ohio measure is the most drastic reform attempted to date.
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