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PIA Opposes Federal Commission to Study State Workers Compensation Laws

WASHINGTON, May 28, 2009 - Any effort by the federal government to set up a commission to study state workers' compensation laws and...
May 28, 2009

Says Federal Interference in State Compensation System is Unjustified, Wasteful

WASHINGTON, May 28, 2009  - Any effort by the federal government to set up a commission to study state workers' compensation laws and practices is unjustified and a waste of taxpayers' money, according to the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA).

PIA announced its opposition to H.R. 635, the "National Commission on State Workers' Compensation Laws Act of 2009." The bill would create a commission tasked with evaluating the state-based workers' compensation insurance system and making recommendations for improvements to the system.

"This is a typical Washington D.C. approach: appoint a commission, give it a big budget and create a big new bureaucracy," said PIA National Government Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny Lee. "The fact is, none of this is necessary. Workers' compensation programs are regulated by the states, not the federal government.  The federal government should not seek to interfere in a state-based and state-regulated system. This is a waste of time and taxpayers dollars."
  
Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.) introduced H.R. 635 on January 22, 2009. It was referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor. Identical legislation failed to advance in the House during the 110th Congress.

Under the proposal, the commission would be composed of 14 members, 10 of whom would be political appointees. The commission would have the authority to hold hearings, issue subpoenas, take testimony, and receive evidence. It would be required to make recommendations for improvements to the workers compensation system within 18 months.

"State insurance regulators through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) already have a Workers' Compensation Task Force studying these issues," said PIA National Director of Federal Affairs Mike Becker. "That is the appropriate body to be involved in making recommendations for improvements. It is entirely possible that H.R. 635 is being used to position the state workers' compensation system as another 'target of opportunity' for those wanting to bring about federal insurance regulation."

PIA supports the current state-based system of insurance regulation and opposes legislation that would transfer supervisory authority to the federal government. Accordingly, PIA has also announced its steadfast opposition to the National Insurance Consumer Protection Act of 2009 (H.R. 1880) by Reps. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Melissa Bean (D-Ill.).

Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses. PIA members are Local Agents Serving Main Street America (SM). PIA's web address is www.pianet.com.

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