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House Ready To Take Up Workers’ Comp

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Florida House of Representatives
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

In an issue closely watched by business, legal and labor groups, the House on Tuesday is scheduled to take up a bill that would revamp workers' compensation insurance laws.

The bill (HB 7085), filed by Insurance & Banking Chairman Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, is one of numerous high-profile issues the House and Senate are expected to consider next week during floor sessions. Lawmakers are grappling with the workers' compensation system after regulators approved a 14.5 percent insurance rate increase that started taking effect Dec. 1.

House and Senate bills about revamping the system differ on key issues, including the heavily lobbied issue of limits on fees for injured workers' attorneys. While the House could approve its version during the coming week, the Senate bill (SB 1582), sponsored by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, needs to clear the Rules Committee before it can go to the full Senate.

Among the other high-profile issues next week, the Senate is expected Tuesday to take up a measure (SB 340) that would create statewide regulations on app-based ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft. The industry has backed such a statewide approach, rather than being faced with varying local regulations.

The Senate has balked at similar bills in the past, but this year's version, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, has easily moved through committees. The House has already approved its version of the bill (HB 221). The annual legislative session is scheduled to end May 5.