ASSEMBLY, No. 2251

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 11, 2010

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  WAYNE P. DEANGELO

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Creates Review Commission on Workers' Compensation.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act creating the Review Commission on Workers' Compensation.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    a.  There is established in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the Review Commission on Workers' Compensation.  The commission shall consist of 15 members as follows: the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development, the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance, the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, and the Commissioner of Personnel, or their designees, who shall serve ex-officio, and shall be non-voting members; and 11 public members who have expertise and experience in connection with workers' compensation appointed by the Governor.  Of the 11 public members: two shall be individuals appointed from a list or lists of nominees provided by one or more recognized Statewide organizations representing businesses, one of whom shall represent a self-insured employer; two shall be individuals appointed from a list or lists of nominees provided by one or more recognized Statewide organizations representing labor unions; two shall represent workers' compensation insurers; one shall be a petitioner's attorney; one shall be a respondent's attorney; and three shall be workers' compensation benefit claimants.

     b.  All appointments shall be made within 90 days after the effective date of this act.  The appointed members of the commission shall serve for a term ending on December 31, 2011.  Vacancies in the membership of the appointed members of the commission shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments.

     c.  The members shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for necessary expenditures incurred in the performance of their duties as members of the commission.

     d.  The commission shall organize as soon as possible after the appointments are made and select a chairperson from among its members.  The commission shall meet at least quarterly and may hold meetings and hearings at such places and times as it designates.  No action shall be taken by the commission except by an affirmative vote of a majority of the voting members.

     e.  The commission shall study the effectiveness and efficiency of the procedures used by the State to resolve disputed workers' compensation claims, with special attention to any unnecessary costs or delays imposed on employers and workers, including lost time, lost wages, excessive expenditures or delayed benefits caused by multiple court appearances and other procedural inefficiencies.

     f.  The commission shall issue a report to the Governor and the Legislature not later than December 31, 2011 of its findings and recommendations to reduce those costs and delays, which may include any recommendations to permit the disposition of settled cases by affidavit with the consent of all parties.  The report shall include any draft legislation needed to implement recommendations of the report.

     g.  The commission may hold public hearings and shall have access to relevant files and records of the Department of Banking and Insurance, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the Department of Health and Senior Services, the Department of Personnel and other relevant State agencies, and may call to its assistance and avail itself of the services of the employees of those departments and agencies to provide whatever information the commission considers relevant and necessary in the performance of its functions.  Any information obtained from or about any employer, employee, or employee representative by the commission shall be retained solely for the use of the commission in the implementation of this act, and shall not be disclosed except as part of a report made by the commission pursuant to this act.  No report of the commission shall include information which is identifiable with any specific employer, employee or employer representative without the written consent of the employer, employee or employee representative.

     h.  Expenses of the commission determined to be necessary by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development to carry out its responsibilities under the provisions of this act, which shall not exceed $95,000 during any fiscal year, shall be regarded as an administrative expense of the Division of Workers' Compensation for the purposes of R.S.34:15-94.

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill establishes the Review Commission on Workers' Compensation in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.  The commission consists of 15 members, including four State officials, who are non-voting members, and 11 public members appointed by the Governor representing business, labor, workers' compensation insurers, attorneys and claimants.

     The commission will study the effectiveness and efficiency of the procedures used by the State to resolve disputed workers' compensation claims, with special attention to any unnecessary costs or delays imposed on employers and workers, including lost time, lost wages, excessive expenditures and delayed benefits caused by multiple court appearances and other procedural inefficiencies.  The commission is directed to report, by December 31, 2011, its findings and recommendations to reduce such costs
and delays, which may include recommendations to permit the disposition of settled cases by affidavit with the consent of all parties.