February 6, 2016

Second Injury Fund debate pauses (AUDIO)

The state senate has stopped debate, for now, on fixing the deeply-indebted Second Injury Fund. The program covers workers with previous injuries who are injured again on the job. The taxes on employers, frozen in 2005, have left it with at least one-billion dollars in claims, no money to pay them, and thousands of claims waiting to be processed. Insurance premiums charged to employers were frozen eight years ago at a level far too low to make all the payments that the fund owes to injured workers.

Four days of debate have failed to bring a solution. One stumbling block is inclusion of occupational diseases, which Sen. Gina Walsh (D-St. Louis County) says don’t belong.

                                  AUDIO: Walsh :16   

Sponsor Scott Rupp (R-Wentzville) disagrees….

                                  AUDIO: Rupp :14

Rupp says the week of negotiations has brought the two sides closer together. He says it’s time to take a few days off, do some more talking, and get back to what he hopes is concluding debate next Tuesday.