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Senate Passes Workers' Compensation Bills — Most Republicans Reject It

Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul
NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS
Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul

Democrats in the Illinois Senate on Friday made another attempt to meet the demands of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s economic agenda.

The Republican governor has said the expense of workers compensation insurance has driven businesses out of the state.

Democratic Sen. Kwame Raoul, from Chicago, sponsored legislation meant to bring costs down.

"I know workers comp. I’ve practiced workers comp on behalf of employers," Raoul told his colleagues during debate. "This, if implemented right, will save employers money, and I urge an aye vote."

But just one Republican voted for it: Sen. Sam McCann of Plainview. The rest, like Sen. Michael Connelly, from Lisle, say it’s not nearly good enough.

“You will know that it’s true workers’ compensation reform when the lion’s share of the ‘yes’ votes come from the Republican side of the aisle," Connelly said.

The legislation would make a lot of technical changes intended to bring down costs.

Senators, mostly Democrats, also approved a plan to create a public corporation to sell workers compensation insurance. It's meant to be a lower cost alternative to the existing private market.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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