I missed it earlier this week, but thanks to an alert reader here’s video from Tuesday of Senate Democrats (lead by Senators George Sinner and Tim Mathern) attempting to amend a bill, HB1080, dealing with workers compensation insurance to give better treatment to criminals than other workers.
Under current law, if your workers compensation benefits are suspended for more than 180 days (because you got better, etc.) you have to re-apply for benefits if you need them again. Senator Sinner’s bill would have removed that requirement for those who were incarcerated.
Let’s say you get injured. You sign up for benefits and, after a while, you get better and go back to work. But then, seven months later, the injury comes back again. At that point, you have to re-apply for benefits.
Unless you were in prison. Then you don’t.
To be clear, Demcorats in North Dakota see workers compensation insurance as little more than a piggy bank for trial lawyers who make lots of money fighting legal battles against the state against injured workers. Like Senate Minority Leader Mac Schneider (D-Grand Forks) whose family business is, in part, representing workers compensation workers. This was probably some sop to the lawyers so they could rake in some more money on workers comp cases.
We ought to privatize workers compensation, frankly, but at the very least let’s not give criminals better treatment under workers comp laws than non-criminals.