Governor Chris Gregoire and lawmakers in Olympia cut a deal over objections from State Representative and Teamster Mike Sells (D-Everett) to remove hundreds of millions of dollars from the pockets of injured workers.
EHB 2123 (sponsored by Rep. Tami Green (D-Lakewood)) was the product of closed-door negotiations between the Governor and legislative leaders of both parties. It offers “structured settlements” to injured workers 55 years and older (lowered to 50 by 2016). Next year alone, the state anticipates injured workers will get settlements that are $335 million less than they would otherwise receive, and a total of $545 million less over 2012-15.
EHB 2123 also freezes injured workers’ cost-of-living adjustments for one year, deducts prior disability awards from pension awards and eliminates interest payments of permanent partial disability.