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Koenig: Police Unions Misleading on Workers Comp Bill

Over the past several days, members of various chapters of the Fraternal Order of Police have criticized the long overdue improvements to Kentucky’s workers’ compensation system that recently passed the Kentucky House of Representatives. Unfortunately, the information and details being used by FOP leaders are false, and misleading. House Bill 296 seeks to make several improvements for workers in the system, and in no way does it seek to lessen, or end, benefits for those permanently injured in the line of duty.

Our first responders are absolutely among the most important members of our communities, and we as Kentuckians are incredibly indebted to them. When they are injured in the line of duty, it is our responsibility to take care of them for the rest of their lives – and that is something I have always stood behind. Therefore, it is incredibly disappointing that FOP leaders have attempted to mislead Kentuckians on my support for these heroes.

Following committee hearings, and concerns brought about by Kentucky workers’ groups, I spent considerable time working with every interested party to find consensus on the bill. I brought interest groups together, and as a result of those fruitful discussions, I offered three amendments on the House floor, which upon passage, greatly improved the bill – for both workers and businesses.

First and foremost, House Bill 296 does not cap medical expenses for those who are unable to continue to work. For example, employees who are totally disabled or those with significant injuries such as amputations, lost sight, or hearing, will continue to get the lifetime medical benefits they earned. For any organization, like the FOP, to say otherwise is irresponsible, and there are now people unduly worried about their futures.

To protect injured workers, House Bill 296 increases the weekly wage for them from 100 percent of their salary to 110 percent of their salary – an element I personally included in the bill.

Kentucky’s workers’ compensation system has been broken for quite some time, and others have refused to address it for the past two decades. I’m proud of the work done by myself and every single interested party on behalf of workers and businesses in House Bill 296. We found consensus in protecting injured workers, while also protecting every Kentuckian from the high costs associated with abuse within the state’s workers’ compensation system. However, perhaps most importantly, I’m proud to stand with every single hard working Kentuckian, no matter their role in the workforce, to ensure we deliver the best possible Kentucky – and that is my duty as the State Representative from the 69th District.

Written by Rep. Adam Koenig (R-Erlanger)