Wichita – Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed Substitute for HB 2134 into law today at the Dondlinger & Sons Construction Company in Wichita. Kansas Labor Secretary Karin Brownlee as well as business and labor representatives joined the Governor at the signing ceremony.
The new law revises portions of the Kansas Workers Compensation Act and is the first significant reform to workers compensation laws in the state since 1993.
“This new law helps ensure certainty of benefits for legitimately injured workers while also offering protection from litigation for employers. It provides cost-certainty for employers, allowing them to invest in job creation,” Gov. Brownback said. “HB 2134 shows what can happen when two sides that don’t always see eye-to-eye choose to work together to find a solution to an issue. I commend business and labor leaders for uniting to produce effective reform.”
Leaders from business and labor groups worked nearly a year to reach an agreement that won unanimous passage in the legislature.
“This bill represents a well thought out compromise between business & labor. This compromise includes elements to improve work comp situations for both the worker & the employer. This is one more positive step in making Kansas a great place to do business,” Labor Secretary Brownlee said.
Highlights of HB 2134 include:
- It ends payment of unwarranted claims by raising the threshold required for an incident to be compensable under the Workers Comp. Act.
- It overturns numerous court decisions that erode the intent of the workers compensation system.
- It clarifies employers are entitled to a credit for pre-existing conditions. The employer pays only for what happens under his watch.
- Increases benefit caps significantly for injured workers who have lost the capacity to work.
- Employers will now be required to provide names of two alternative doctors instead of three.
Kansas was one of nine states to first adopt workers compensation laws in 1911.