SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Pat Quinn told two business groups Wednesday he hopes to see workers’ compensation reform addressed before legislators leave town at the end of May.
Quinn has been negotiating with various disparate groups — trial lawyers, doctors, insurance companies, labor unions and business groups — in order to try to come up with some kind of compromise on the issue.
“It’s very important that we address this issue this month in Springfield,” Quinn said, speaking to a gathering of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association at a downtown Springfield hotel.
However, no legislation has been put forward, with only a month left of session. The General Assembly will be busy trying to approve a state budget and new legislative maps.
Business groups want to see workers’ compensation claims directly related to injuries on the job.
Quinn reiterated that he wants to see workers’ rights protected while lowering the high costs to businesses. His proposal would say workplace injuries must happen while a worker is on the job, but he stopped short of saying they had to be caused by work.
State Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, sponsored workers’ compensation legislation earlier this spring that did not receive Democrats’ approval in the Senate.
“I don’t see anything from the other side right now,” McCarter said.
State Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, proposed legislation that would eliminate the workers’ compensation system entirely and push cases into the circuit courts, but so far he has not called the idea for a vote on the House floor.
Bradley said it’s been difficult for groups to come together on the issue.
“You have so many very powerful groups within the state which are so divergent on the issue, and then you have the situation where it’s very difficult to get to something where everyone feels like there’s shared sacrifice,” Bradley said.