Missouri Senate readies for workers' comp vote

| Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The Missouri Senate is scheduled to vote Wednesday, Feb. 9, on a bill that would overhaul the state’s workers’ compensation system.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. John Loudon, R-Ballwin, includes a provision that would remove what it classifies as owner-operators from workers’ compensation coverage.

Independent owner-operators who own their own equipment are already exempt from workers’ compensation benefits in the state. The provision would expand the definition of owner-operators who are currently exempt to include lease-purchase operators and lease drivers who have no ownership interest in the equipment they operate.

It would also wipe out previous allegations of workers’ compensation violations from employers, including motor carriers.

Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Lee’s Summit, is expected to introduce an amendment during floor debate Wednesday to remove the language relating to owner-operators from the bill.

The owner-operator provision originally was included in SB130. That bill, however, was combined with Loudon’s bill – SB1 – prior to its passage out of committee.

The bill would limit the number of workers eligible for compensation. It tightens the definition of a workplace injury by requiring work to be “the prevailing factor” for the injury instead of “a substantial factor.” It also requires workers to provide “objective relevant findings” to prove their injury. Also, people traveling to and from work in a company-owned or subsidized vehicle would no longer be eligible for compensation under the bill.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, representing more than 4,500 Missouri-based professional drivers, is encouraging its members to contact their senators about the proposal.

To read OOIDA’s Call to Action alert for Missouri members, click here.

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