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John Campbell

John Campbell (R-Irvine) is an Assemblyman representing the 70th District in Orange County. Mr. Campbell is the Vice-Chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. He is the only CPA in the California State legislature and recently received a national award as Freshman Republican Legislator of the Year. He represents the cities of Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Tustin, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Woods and Lake Forest. He can be reached through his Assembly website and through the website for his California Senate campaign. [go to Campbell index]

Worker's Comp...
Recall's impact...
[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. But with the total Democrat control 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.

But then there was the recall and the election of Governor Schwarzenegger. Worker's 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 in Sacramento.

Then, just this week, the circulators of the petition announce that they have over 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 in earnest.

Yesterday morning (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



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