SPRINGFIELD -- During Saturday's Senate floor discussion on workers compensation reform several senators rose to express his or her views on Senator Kwame Raoul's HB 1698 before the vote of 46 to 8 with 2 not voting. Senator Raoul did not take kindly to his opponents' criticism:
And the business groups' major sticking point addressing causation of workers compensation claims was not sufficiently addressed. But the point, State Senator Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) said, is that while the final legislation is not perfect, a main objective was met.
“This is not a perfect bill, but I think we’ve achieved our main objective of lowering costs for job creators, while protecting the rights of injured workers,” Radogno said. “While this measure alone will not eliminate all abuses of this system, it is good step towards addressing a system that has driven employers and business out of our state.”
Still, for eight state senators -- all Republican -- passing HB 1698 would cause true reform to become "a passing enigma in the rear view mirror," as State Senator Sam McCann (R-Carlinville) commented. McCann detailed the high cost of workers' comp from his perspective as a construction company owner:
Senator Raoul expressed his resentment at his colleagues describing his bill as "just a start," saying the legislation was instead "true reform" of the workers' comp system.
The legislation passed to Governor Quinn, and State Rep. John Bradley's last resort "nuclear option" to dismantle Illinois' workers' comp program was scheduled for Saturday's Executive Committee session, but was not called up for discussion after Senator Raoul's HB 1698 passed committee.
Raoul's major legislative proposal was heard and voted on the Senate floor within thirty minutes of passing the Executive Committee.