On The Lege

Workers' Comp on hot seat

It could be curtains next year for the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission if lawmakers agree to a proposal that would fold the agency and create a new division under the Texas Department of Insurance.

The Sunset Advisory Commission is framing the plan as a reform measure that the corporate sector applauds, while labor leaders express cautious optimism over the opportunity to fix a system that frustrates companies, workers, and doctors alike. The Texas AFL-CIO last week issued a wish list for a new workers' compensation system that would allow workers a broader choice of doctors and a means of holding insurance companies accountable if they wrongfully deny treatment.

Labor representatives believe workers were shortchanged the last time the system was overhauled, more than 10 years ago, and they want to make sure that doesn't happen again. The Texas group would like to see workers get enhanced benefits, effective representation, a more effective return-to-work policy, and an end to incentives for employers to opt out of workers' comp. "We believe these ingredients can be negotiated in good faith with other stakeholders in the workers' comp system," Texas AFL-CIO President Emmett Sheppard said in a statement. "We must fix a law that takes away more worker options than it provides and ... simply fails to compensate workers."

Got something to say on the subject? Send a letter to the editor.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More On the Lege
Lege Lines: Stretching Toward a Sunset
Lege Lines: Stretching Toward a Sunset
Don’t praise the Senate GOP for working quickly to pass what’s needed

Mary Tuma, July 21, 2017

Lege Lines
Lege Lines
Sine die at last, transportation, water, and more

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 9, 2013

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Texas AFL-CIO, Texas Workers Compensation Commission, Texas Department of Insurance, Sunset Advisory Commission

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle