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Senate Votes to Override Veto on Worker’s Compensation Bill

March 29 – The Missouri Senate voted to override Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of SB 572, the AIM-supported bill that would again allow coverage of occupational diseases under the worker’s compensation system and prevent employees from suing each other in workplace accidents (under normal circumstances).

The vote on the bill was 24-9, with most Republican senators supporting the override.  All Democrats and Republican Senator Luann Ridgeway voted against overriding the Governor’s veto.

The bill would have allowed workers to obtain quick medical treatment for occupational diseases under the state’s no-fault worker’s compensation system, a process that was allowed until recent court decisions holding that occupational diseases are no longer covered under the worker’s compensation system. 

Plaintiff’s attorneys oppose the bill because they are currently able to obtain large settlements for their clients (and fat paychecks themselves) when they are able to prove an employer is at fault in an occupational disease case.  Plaintiff’s attorneys do not want to lost this “cash cow” and they have made many political contributions in the right places to make sure this mistake does not get fixed.  Governor Jay Nixon and several Republicans have chosen to side with these attorneys at the expense of injured workers. 

Employees that would normally have received quick treatment and fair compensation under the worker’s compensation laws will now have to prove the employer is at fault – which can be very difficult.  Employers now risk large settlements when an injured worker is able to prove fault.  Everyone loses…except the plaintiff’s attorneys.

A vote may be held in the Missouri House to override the Governor’s veto, but the influence of the plaintiff’s attorneys’ political contributions is expected to prevent us from obtaining the necessary votes.

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