Tax Increase, Tax Cut, Second Injury Fund, Undocumented Workers and Whistle-blower Update
April 12 – Well, as you can tell by the headline, it has been a very busy 24 hours!
Our standalone whistle-blower bill that will protect employees that are alerting authorities to truly illegal acts by their employer, HB 2099, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Elmer, has advanced from committee and will be sent to the House Rules Committee. Also, a committee substitute for SB 592, with the same language addressing whistle-blowers only, was distributed to committee members of the House Workforce Development Committee today and a vote on that language is expected on Monday. You will recall Governor Jay Nixon has twice previously vetoed language that would have aligned Missouri’s standard for proving discrimination with federal law and this whistle-blower provision was a part of both of those vetoed bills.
New language that would end the Second Injury Fund and move some claims into the regular worker’s compensation system has been circulating among stakeholder groups. We are analyzing the impact of the language now and will report to you when we have analyzed the real impact of the language and have firmer details. Meanwhile, the House yesterday approved HB 1403 that would reform the Second Injury Fund and fix the two issues with worker’s compensation (co-employee liability and coverage of occupational diseases in the work comp system – see articles below for more details). That bill has been referred to committee in the Senate.
Last evening, the House International Trade and Job Creation Committee heard testimony on a bill that would require every Missouri employer to use E-Verify, a system that helps identify illegal aliens. Associated Industries of Missouri opposed the bill because it would place a new burden on every Missouri employer. AIM President Ray McCarty pointed out to the Committee that it was unfair to place this burden on employers because the federal government has refused to properly fund and aggressively enforce federal immigration laws. Several representatives on the Committee were obviously frustrated with the lack of enforcement by the federal government and thought an additional employer mandate was the solution. We reminded them that was the wrong approach to this federal issue. McCarty told the committee that employers that are satisfied with the performance of E-Verify and the protection it affords would voluntarily use the system and the mandate would be unnecessary.
We will continue to report on these issues as there are additional developments.