Smith statement on House Republican motion to bring workers’ compensation bill to floor

Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton and lead Republican on economic development issues in the Washington State House of Representatives, issued the following statement on House Republicans’ attempt today on a procedural motion to bring workers’ compensation reform, Senate Bill 5566, directly to the House floor for a vote.

“While today’s procedural motion failed with little attention, it is important our employers and workers know that we missed out on a tremendous opportunity to pass meaningful workers’ compensation reform legislation. The bipartisan Senate Bill 5566 would have been a big step in addressing a nationally recognized, key competitive disadvantage our employers and business climate face in Washington. It clearly would assist in improving our state’s economic recovery and providing our employers some needed stability and certainty.

“The Senate Bill would have lowered costs for employers and does not reduce benefits for workers, contrary to what opponents have claimed. It would also get injured workers back to work more quickly. Washington isn’t returning workers to the job. The average number of days an injured worker is at home collecting a workers’ compensation benefit check is more than twice the national average. We can do better, both in providing hard-working Washingtonians true choices, and managing the escalating cost for employers more reasonably.

“I have continually stressed that to improve our state’s economic recovery we need to create certainty, protect our competitive advantages, and work to improve on competitive disadvantages. We have one of the highest workers’ compensation pension rates in the country and our system will be insolvent in the near future if we do not take action.

“Both parties supporting this reform in the Senate demonstrates it can be done in the House.”

The procedural motion failed by a vote of 54-43.


Washington State House Republican Communications