HB 348 (BR 443) - G. Stumbo, Jo. Turner, J. Arnold Jr, I. Branham, Dw. Butler, P. Childers, H. Collins, B. Colter, H. Cornett, J. Crenshaw, C. Geveden, J. Gooch, J. Gray, K. Hall, C. Hoffman, L. Napier, R. Nelson, B. Smith, J. Stacy, B. Yonts
AN ACT relating to worker's compensation.
Amend KRS 342.315 to modify the requirement that administrative law judges(ALJs) give "presumptive weight" to the findings of designated (university) evaluators in coal worker's pneumoconiosis (CWP) claims; amend KRS 342.316 to require x-rays submitted with a claim to be interpreted by a "B" reader, require employers to give notice of denial or acceptance of a claim within 30 days of the commissioner issuing a notice of consensus reading unless the consensus reading is that no evidence of CWP exists; require the commissioner to determine whether x-rays submitted by the employee and those of the physician to whom the employee was referred are in consensus; specify method for resolving a lack of consensus by having x-rays read by additional "B readers"; require that consensus requirement apply to all claims except those assigned to an ALJ prior to the effective date of this Act; amend KRS 342.730 relating to permanent partial disability to provide income benefits for 425 weeks for disability of 35% or less and for 520 weeks for disability greater than 35% ; amend KRS 342.732 to revise eligibility criteria and benefit structure for CWP to: provide retraining incentive benefits for x-ray category 1/0, and X-ray category 1/1 or 1/2 with spirometric test values of 80% or more; create an irrebuttable presumption of a 25% disability and provide income benefits for 425 weeks not to exceed 75% of the state average weekly wage for X-ray category 1/0 and spirometric values of less than 55% of predicted normal levels, category 1/1 or 1/2 and spirometric values of 55% or more but less than 80% of predicted normal levels, or for category 2/1,2/2, or 2/3 and spirometric test values of 80% or more; create an irrebutable presumption of a 50% disability and provide income benefits for 425 weeks not to exceed 75% of the state average weekly wage for X-ray category 3/2 or 3/3 and spirometric test values of 80% or more; create a rebuttable presumption that coal dust significantly contributed to development of respiratory impairment if a miner has 15 yrs. experience in coal mining; permit a miner 55 yrs. of age or older who is eligible for a retraining incentive benefit to elect to receive an award equal to 66 2/3 % of the employee's average weekly wage, not to exceed 75% of the state average weekly wage multiplied by a disability rating of 25%, for 425 wks.; require the commissioner to promulgate administrative regulations for the reconsideration of claims filed between Dec. 12, 1996 and the effective date of this Act; permit miners with dates of last exposure between Dec. 12, 1996 and April 1, 1998, five years after the date of last exposure to file a claim; and create a new section of KRS Chapter 342 to require the commissioner to maintain a list and assess the performance of "B readers".
HB 348 - AMENDMENTS
HFA (1, J. Gray) - Retain original provisions, except name the bill the Walter "Mike" South Act of 2002.
HFA (2, S. Nunn) - Retain original provisions except remove from HB 348 the permanent partial disability provision that provides for income benefits for 425 weeks for disability of 35% or less and for 520 weeks for disability greater than 35%; and renumber subsequent sections to conform.
HFA (3, S. Lee) - Retain original provision, except to provide that the Commissioner of the Dept. of Workers' Claims, after the first attempt to reach consensus, shall refer an employee to the university medical schools for a CT Scan for coal workers' pneumoconiosis; require the CT Scan to be interpreted by a qualified health care professional knowledgeable in diagnosing coal workers' pneumoconiosis; require the medical findings to be sent to the administrative law judge, and require the administrative law judge to give the CT Scan report presumptive weight.
SCS - Retain original provisions, except delete 15 year presumption and retraining exemptions based on physical, mental or educational limitations; revise original provisions to redefine consensus; require commissioner to refer to 3 "B" readers in attempt to achieve consensus; require that "B" readers be selected randomly from a pool of all "B" readers who agree to participate; revise black lung benefit schedule to provide: retraining incentive benefits for Cat. 1/0, 1/1, and 1/2 and spirometry value of 80% or more; a 25% disability benefit(425 weeks) for Cat.1 with spirometry more than 55%, or Cat. 2 with spirometry of 80% or more; a 50% disability benefit(425) for Cat. 1/0 with spirometry less than 55%, or Cat. 3 with spirometry of 80% or more; permit miner to elect retraining incentive benefits rather than 25% black lung award; require commissioner to promulgate administrative regulations relating to retraining incentive benefits; permit miner 57 and older to receive income benefits for 425 weeks in lieu of training and education; add 17 weeks of retraining incentive benefits while miner pursues a GED; permit receipt of retraining incentive benefits while participating as a full-time or part-time student; provide employer paid incentive funds of $5,000 or $10,000 for successful completion of a training or education program; upon request of a miner, require referral to Department of Vocational Rehabilitation for assessment, evaluation, and services; require coal employers to post notice of training and education benefits available to miners.
SFA (1, D. Adams) - Amend KRS 342.730 relating to permanent partial disability to provide income benefits for 425 weeks for disability of 35% or less and for 520 weeks for disability greater than 35%.
SFA (2, D. Adams) - Retain original provisions, except to delete language stating if a miner with 15 years work experience in the mines develops coal workers' pneumoconiosis with a respiratory impairment, it shall be rebuttably presumed that coal dust exposure was a significant contributing factor in the development of the breathing impairment.
Jan 15-introduced in House
Jan 16-to Labor and Industry (H); posted in committee
Jan 22-reported favorably, 1st reading, to Calendar; floor amendment (1) filed
Jan 23-2nd reading, to Rules; posted for passage in the Regular Orders of the Day for Thursday, January 24, 2002; floor amendments (2) and (3) filed
Jan 24-floor amendment (1) withdrawn
Jan 28-3rd reading; floor amendment (3) rejected ; passed 97-0 with floor amendment (2)
Jan 29-received in Senate
Feb 1-to Economic Development, Tourism & Labor (S)
Mar 6-floor amendment (1) filed
Mar 20-taken from committee; laid on clerk's desk; 1st reading
Mar 21-2nd reading, to Rules; recommitted to Economic Development, Tourism & Labor (S); floor amendment (2) filed
Mar 22-reported favorably, to Rules with Committee Substitute ; posted for passage in the Regular Orders of the Day for Friday, March 22, 2002; 3rd reading; floor amendments (1) and (2) ruled out of order ; passed 37-0 with Committee Substitute
Mar 25-received in House; posted for passage for concurrence in Senate Committee Substitute
Apr 1-House concurred in Senate Committee Substitute ; passed 96-0
Apr 2-received in House; enrolled, signed by each presiding officer; delivered to Governor
Apr 13-signed by Governor (Acts ch. 340)