Colorado bill would modify state's workers' comp coverage

| 2/27/2006

A bill in the Colorado Senate would increase the number of individuals in the state, including independent contractors in trucking, who must be covered by workers’ compensation insurance.

The legislation was sought by the state’s trucking association in response to a recent court ruling that called into question whether Colorado-based independent contactors in trucking are exempt from the state’s requirement that they purchase workers’ compensation coverage.

Under Colorado law, all employees in the state are required to have employer-sponsored workers’ compensation protection. However, independent contractors under lease agreements as drivers for both common carriers and contract carriers are not employees for the purpose of workers’ compensation.

Individuals who are employed as drivers have the choice whether to be covered under workers’ compensation, another form of coverage or opt out of the coverage altogether.

Sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Veiga, D-Denver, this measure would repeal the provisions and include in the definition of employee both drivers who are independent contractors and drivers who are employees of common and contract carriers. As employees, the bill would mandate that these individuals be provided workers’ compensation coverage.

The bill – SB191 – is scheduled for a hearing March 1 in the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is encouraging its Colorado members to contact committee members to voice their support for the bill.