Campbell (R-Irvine) is an Assemblyman representing the 70th
in Orange County. Mr. Campbell is the Vice-Chairman of the Assembly
Budget Committee. He is the only CPA in the California State
and recently received a national award as Freshman Republican
Legislator of the Year. He represents the cities of Newport
Laguna Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Tustin, Aliso Viejo, Laguna
Woods and Lake Forest. He can be reached through his Assembly
and through the website
for his California Senate campaign. [go to Campbell index]
[John Campbell] 4/16/04
I have been talking
and writing about Worker's Compensation insurance reform for
over 3 years. Republicans introduced dozens of bills to fix it.
in Sacramento, none of the reform bills passed even the first
committee and the situation has gotten progressively worse. Democrats
were passing bills on a party line vote as recently as 2002 that
dramatically worsened the situation.
there was the recall and the election of Governor Schwarzenegger.
comp reform was one of the major "action" items
on which the "action governor" campaigned and which
he made a priority for his administration. Remember that our
worker's comp premiums are by far the highest in the country
but a legitimately injured worker gets a benefit that ranks about
46th out of the 50 states. That is proof that the system is ripe
with waste, fraud, abuse and money going to middlemen like trial
lawyers and unscrupulous medical mills.
In January, the Governor sponsored a bill to totally reform
the system on which he requested action by March 1st. The controlling
Democrats never even allowed the bill to have a vote in committee.
Then, on March 3rd, an initiative to reform the system began
circulation for signature. The Governor gave the Democrats until
March 31st to agree on a legislative solution as an alternative
to the initiative. That deadline also came and went with no bill
and no vote. The special interests (in this case trial lawyers
and union bosses) just have too much control of elected Democrats
this week, the circulators of the petition announce that they
900,000 signatures for the initiative. This
is comfortably more than the roughly 600,000 needed to qualify.
The deadline to submit the signatures is Friday, April 16th at
5:00 PM. If the signatures are submitted by that time and at
least 600,000 of them are valid, then the worker's comp initiative
will appear on the November ballot. It cannot be removed from
the ballot once the signatures are turned in and verified. So,
if a legislative "deal" is not agreed on and voted
on by 5:00 PM Friday, the initiative appears on the ballot. Polling
shows that it would be likely to win. Democrats would have to
run against it all across the state. That might not be a good
thing for them to do. Therefore, this week, they started negotiating
(Thursday), at about 4:00AM, the legislative conference committee
finished agreeing on the bill with the Governor's
office and passed it to both the Senate and Assembly floors on
a unanimous 6-0 vote. The bill will be on the Assembly floor
today (Friday), just in time to meet the initiative deadline.
No one should kid themselves. The Democrats are only acting because
of the reality of the initiative and what it might do to their
election possibilities in November. I think it is the best deal
we could get with this legislature which is controlled by the
same people who voted in the miserable system in the first place.
I expect to vote for it. And I expect it will pass. CRO