Lawmakers rewrite workers’ comp legislation

first_imgLawmakers rewrite workers’ comp legislation April 30, 2003 Daniel Staesser Assistant Editor Regular News Lawmakers rewrite workers’ comp legislation Assistant EditorWhen Bar Workers’ Compensation Chair Martin Leibowitz and immediate past Chair Rafael Gonzalez walked into the House Administration Committee on April 14, they along with other interested parties got a shock.House staffers were pulling from boxes and distributing a just-rewritten 377-page workers’ compensation bill, radically revamping a bill that had been approved only a few days earlier by the House Insurance Committee.The new bill, HB 1837, they said, is decidedly more unfriendly to injured workers and the lawyers who represent them. It passed after only brief testimony and limited debate among committee members.The next day, they went to a Senate Banking and Insurance Committee meeting and watched as a largely revamped bill was introduced, and 23 amendments proposed. The Senate bill, SB 1132, however, turned out more worker- and lawyer-friendly, they said.And that’s the way it has been for them during this session as special commissions have reported and various committees have held hearings and drafted bills, only to have changes proposed with little or no notice, as at the House Administration Committee.“It’s changing almost by the hour,” said Gonzalez, who has been following developments closely since last summer. Added Leibowitz, “It’s a moving target.”It hasn’t been easy for legislators either. “In the nicest possible way, what redeeming qualities would this bill have to help injured workers?” asked Sen. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Pembroke Pines, at the Senate meeting after reviewing benefit cuts, particularly for permanent total disability.“We have essentially taken a system where we encourage people to stay out of work, where we encourage people not to get better, because the only way they can get benefits is if they stay on permanent total disability,” said Sen. Skip Campbell, D-Tamarac.“I equate workers’ comp with a rubber tube, that over the years everybody has been messing with it, putting little patches over it to fix problems, and now we have just a big gusher that doesn’t make any sense to anybody,” he added.While the issue was in flux as this Bar News went to press, Leibowitz and Gonzalez reported on trends they have seen emerging in the bills:• Cutting fees for attorneys representing injured workers. Proposals include cutting the current percentages attorneys get on recoveries, and either limiting hourly compensation or eliminating it entirely. One amendment to the Senate bill, however, raised the maximum hourly payment to $5,000 in medical benefit disputes, and as much as $20,000 if the carrier tries to deny coverage. It also raised the percentage on benefits won that would be paid in attorneys’ fees. The House has no hourly rates. Gonzalez and Leibowitz said that would make it impossible for lawyers to take many, if not most, small cases because they might only earn $150 to $200 for 15, 20, or more hours of work.• Establishing a peer review panel of out-of-state licensed physicians to handle the medical review process, a system likened to what some call “Fair Care.” While lawmakers say that would be a way to resolve medical disputes without trial, Gonzalez and Leibowitz said that it would be expensive to involve out-of-state doctors and create a system with different procedures for handling different parts of a case. They also said that Minnesota tried a similar system with in-state peer review panels in the late 1980s that proved expensive and unworkable.• Enhancing some benefits for temporarily injured workers, while at the same time limiting benefits for those permanently totally disabled (PTD). The House and Senate both discussed cutting off PTD benefits between the ages of 65 and 75. Annual cost-of-living increases could be cut.• The Senate proposed dropping rates by 15 percent, while the House had no rollback provision.• Creation of a new appellate division, where appeals from judges of compensation claims go to a workers’ compensation appellate tribunal, appointed by the governor, before they would go to a district court of appeal. Instead of having all appeals going to the First DCA, the House would split them among the five DCAs.Leibowitz said that lawyers who want to follow the daily changes on the issue may visit the Workers’ Compensation Section Web site at www.flworkerscomp.org. Also on the site is a list of the section’s authorized positions, which include supporting legislation aimed at ensuring the right of the injured workers to have their cases reviewed, while opposing that which would restrict or restructure attorneys’ fees.Gonzalez said the section is working on a side-by-side comparison of the House and Senate bills and the recommendations from a blue ribbon task force appointed by the governor.Against a backdrop of budget problems and medical malpractice issues, Leibowitz said the issue is unlikely to be resolved during the regular session, and will be taken up in special session.last_img read more

Neville flattered by Everton link

first_img “It’s just whatever direction the club want to take. But I know there are players who have gone into jobs and failed. “I am at the end of my career and I am looking to get into coaching and management. I have prepared for the last five seasons and I have some nice decisions to make. “I have had a lot of experience, studying coaching practices. I have been away with England Under-21s. I’m half-prepared for what I’m going into.” The former England international, 36, took the decision towards the end of the season to leave the club’s playing staff and is preparing for a career in management. He has been strongly linked with the Goodison Park vacancy and is also rated by bookmakers among the leading contenders for the job at Stoke, who parted company with Tony Pulis on Tuesday. “It is flattering to be linked with the Everton job,” Neville told The Times. Departing Everton captain Phil Neville has confirmed his interest in succeeding David Moyes as the club’s manager.center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Jamaica under water, again

first_imgWater nearly covers these houses in the parish of Clarendon For the second time in just over a month sections of Jamaica are experiencing heavy flooding.Heavy rains have been pelting the island since Sunday and as a result several schools have been closed and life in the island is soaking wet. Prime Minister Andrew Holness has instructed that all national emergency systems to be activated as heavy rainfall continues to affect sections of the island.The emergency agencies include the National Works Agency (NWA) and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), as well as local representatives.The prime minister says all the agencies should mobilize their resources to deal with the impact of the extraordinary rain event and to support residents who may need assistance in flooded areas.The heavy rains have also cause problems for high school students sitting the CAPE and CSEC examinations. Education Minister Ruel Reid this morning advised that the examinations cannot be postponed and advised students to brave the weather and turn out at designated examination centers or their schools.Meanwhile the island’s Meteorological Service has advised Jamaicans that a Flash Flood Warning is in place for 10 parishes, while a Flash Flood Watch is in place for the other four.The Flash Flood Warning is in place for low-lying and flood prone areas of St Mary, Portland, St Thomas, Kingston, St Andrew, St Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester, St Elizabeth and Westmoreland.Several roads in the Corporate Area, Clarendon and other parishes are heavily-flooded and impassable while bridges and fords have been completely covered and rendered impassable forced the island’s police to issue warnings for motorists to avoid several areas across the island.Hanover, St James, Trelawny, and St Ann have been put on Flash Flood Watch. The warning was issued this morning after heavy rains and winds left many areas waterlogged overnight.A Flash Flood Warning means flooding has been reported or will occur shortly. Motorists and pedestrians should not attempt to cross flooded roadways or other low-lying areas as strong currents are likely, the Met Service cautioned. Residents in low-lying areas should be on the alert for rising waters and be ready to move quickly to higher ground.The warning remains in place until 5:00 pm today. The Met Service projected light-to-moderate, and at times heavy showers, along with thunderstorms, to affect sections of all parishes until Thursday.Twelve killed in Haiti rainslast_img read more

Golden girls: US wins 3rd straight women’s hoops World Cup

first_imgThe pair has been a key part of all three titles and hasn’t lost a World Cup game in nearly 12 years, including Sunday night’s 73-56 win over Australia in the gold medal game.“It means a lot. I was saying yesterday in the press conference that there’s this misconception out there that this is easy for us,” Bird said. “I get it, because the scores can say that at times. But this isn’t easy. We’re thrown together and need to figure it out on the fly. We need to peak at the right time. It’s extremely satisfying when we get it done.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissBird now is the most decorated athlete in World Cup history, winning four gold medals and one bronze.“I don’t know if I can put it in perspective because I’m still in it,” Bird said. LATEST STORIES Allen Durham still determined to help Meralco win 1st PBA title Gov’t to employ 6,000 displaced by Taal View comments Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum The victory gave the U.S. 10 World Cup gold medals and was the 22nd win in a row overall for the Americans dating back to the bronze medal game in 2006. That was the same year that Australia won its only World Cup title. The Americans lost to Russia in the semifinals and haven’t lost since in the World Cup or Olympics. The win also made Dawn Staley the first person ever to win a World Cup title as a player, assistant and head coach.The U.S. didn’t have its entire team together until a few days before the tournament started as Bird, Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd were winning the WNBA championship with the Seattle Storm. Stewart, who was the WNBA regular season and postseason MVP, added the MVP of the World Cup to her resume after scoring 10 points in the championship game.“It’s been an incredible few months, that’s for sure,” Stewart said. “The biggest thing about it all is it’s all focused on the team and having the team win.”Brittney Griner scored 15 points to lead the U.S. and anchored a stellar defensive effort against Liz Cambage. Australia’s star center came into the game averaging 27.2 points in the tournament, but was held to just seven.She remained the No. 1 enemy of the Spanish fans, who jeered and whistled every time she touched the ball. Cambage keyed Australia’s win over the host nation in the semifinals. Spain won the bronze medal, beating Belgium 67-60 earlier Sunday.ADVERTISEMENTcenter_img Taurasi, who scored 13 points, helped the U.S. get off to a strong start with a 10-0 lead. Australia could only get within three the rest of the way. It was the first time in the tournament that the U.S. didn’t trail in a game.“It was huge,” Stewart said about the fast start. “Dee (Taurasi) was talking about being the aggressors as Australia’s used to punching first. Today we were going to punch them first. That’s what we did. We rode on that momentum the rest of the game. That’s something they hadn’t seen this whole tournament.”The U.S. led 35-27 at the half and didn’t give Australia any chance to come back, scoring the first nine points of the third quarter.This was Australia’s best finish at the World Cup since 2006.“To beat the USA we had to play really good defense and rebound,” Australia coach Sandy Brondello said. “We contested a lot of shots, but they found too many shooters.”FLAG FLAPAs the flags of the three medalists were being raised during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Australia’s fell down midway through the song. It drew some laughs and shocked expressions from the Opal players. Cambage tweeted, “our shots didn’t fall but our flag did.”TIP-INSThe Americans remained unbeaten against Australia in Olympic and World Cup games, improving to 18-0. In the World Cup, the U.S. has 11 wins over Australia, although this was the first time the teams had met in the final. … Brondello joined a select group of people to win a World Cup medal as both a coach and player. She starred for the Australians as a player in the 1990s before taking over the coaching job this year. … With the win, the U.S. earns an automatic spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. FIBA is changing the qualifying format next year for the Olympics and World Cup. … The Soviet Union won a record five World Cups titles from 1959 to 1975. … Since the 1996 Olympic Games, the USA Basketball Women’s National Team program will have posted a 100-1 record in major international competitions, winning six consecutive Olympic gold medals (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016), five FIBA World Cup golds (1998, 2002, 2010, 2014, 2018), one FIBA World Cup bronze medal (2006) and one FIBA Americas Championship gold medal (2007).RECORD BREAKER Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Europe finishes off dominant week to win back Ryder Cup Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? United States players celebrate after winning the Women’s basketball World Cup final match between Australia and the U.S.A. in Tenerife, Spain, Sunday Sept. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Andres Gutierrez)SAN CRISTOBAL DE LA LAGUNA, Spain — Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi shared a hug as the final seconds ran down on a third straight World Cup championship.The longtime USA Basketball teammates had accomplished another piece of history together.ADVERTISEMENT Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Bird passed Staley’s career U.S. mark for most assists at the World Cup. Bird fittingly got the record-breaking assist on a 3-pointer by Taurasi, her teammate since their days at UConn in the early 2000s.Staley had 103 in her three World Cups while Bird now has 107. The U.S. coach had joked after the semifinal win that she would sit Bird for the gold medal game to keep the record. Bird arguably had it easier than Staley because FIBA changed the way it counted assists in 2014, giving one to a player if her pass led to free throws.SCOREBOARDSpain beat Belgium 67-60 to win the bronze medal. Canada edged Nigeria 73-72 to finish seventh while France topped China 81-67 to come in fifth.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player awardlast_img read more