Senator Somers Releases Statement on Bad Business Bill

May 17, 2017

HARTFORD, Conn. – Today State Senator Heather Somers (R-Groton) released the following statement regarding House Bill 6666, An Act Expanding Remedies and Potential Liability for Unreasonably Contested or Delayed Workers’ Compensation Claims, which would allow a worker to sue an employer if there was a delay in evaluation or payment for claims.

“This bill will only benefit trial lawyers and bankrupt businesses – large and small,” said Sen. Somers, who has managed several small businesses. “Workers are protected under the current law, this is an answer to a problem that doesn’t exist. At the end of the day this legislation opens businesses up to increased litigation and prevents economic growth. In a time when we are losing businesses to other states, why are we pushing forward with legislation that is anti-business?”

Somers said this bill would be particularly devastating to Electric Boat, hospitals, nursing homes and other businesses involving acute care or physical labor.  She said allowing more legal options would simply add more costs to the bottom line of each business and result in less hiring overall.

“The passage of this bill has the potential to increase workers’ compensation premiums by at least five percent in the first year alone,” said Sen. Somers. “Electric Boat is now growing and adding jobs, but this legislation could hurt future contracts if the compensation system is compromised. Currently workers can directly petition to get answers and treatment, and businesses can adequately plan and budget accordingly.”

The law allows workers to seek compensation benefits through a process that can be appealed. In exchange for receiving workmen’s compensation benefits, a worker releases his or her right to litigation.

“We have the current system because the old method of the courts supervising and ruling on the compensation process was broken,” said Sen. Somers. “Why would we want to go back to a time where workers didn’t receive benefits when they need them?”

The Appropriations Committee is scheduled to vote on the legislation during its meeting Thursday, May 18.

“In a time where our entire state is struggling, I refuse to support legislation that is anti-business, I fully intend to vote against this bill and to voice my opposition to it,” said Sen. Somers. “Now more than ever we must work together to fix the damage that has been done to our economy, opening businesses up to more litigation is not the way to do that.”