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Workers’ Compensation Reforms Saved!

After a recent ruling from the North Carolina Supreme Court threatened to decimate the workers’ compensation reforms of 2011, the aligned business community immediately got to work to save the reforms. Thanks to swift and hard fought advocacy efforts, the North Carolina General Assembly unanimously passed legislation clarifying the reforms passed in 2011. This action created a legislative fix to the Court’s decision, which turned the negotiated workers’ compensation reform of 2011 on its head.

The 2011 reforms restored balance in a no-fault system, made sure workers received timely access to benefits, and drove costs down – benefiting both the injured and their employers. While the Court’s ruling would have unraveled these balanced reforms by expanding liability, House Bill 26: Workers’ Comp/Approval of Disputed Legal Fees protects our workers’ compensation system and saves our business community from the crippling repercussions that would have followed the ruling. In a press release praising the passage of House Bill 26, NC Chamber President and CEO Lew Ebert said, “The comprehensive workers’ compensation reforms passed in 2011 were achieved after extensive negotiations between parties on both sides of the issue. North Carolina’s business community is pleased to see this clarification of that careful process to ensure our state continues to have a system that fosters expedient relief for injured employees.”

This monumental legislative achievement could not have been secured without the hard work of all of our aligned business community. Following the ruling on June 9, our team fought day in and day out with our allies in the business community to save these reforms. More than 25 organizations and businesses came together during this time to voice their support of this effort, showcasing just how important this legislation is to businesses across industries. I’d like to thank those organizations and specifically, Andy Ellen, president of the N.C. Retail Merchants Association, for their integral help in moving this legislation forward. We value our relationships with the members of our aligned business community, especially as we work together to advance policies that strengthen business in our state. We are proud of this speedy and tireless effort to save North Carolina’s workers’ compensation reforms and will continue to advocate for solutions that increase certainty and decrease employer costs in the workers’ compensation system.

The following organizations voiced public support and worked tirelessly on this effort.

Carolinas Association of General Contractors
Capital Associated Industries
Carolina Logging Association
Employers Coalition of NC
Insurance Federation of North Carolina
National Federation of Independent Businesses
North Carolina Association of County Commissioners
North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys
North Carolina Association of Self-Insurers
North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association
North Carolina Chamber of Commerce
North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation
North Carolina Home Builders Association
North Carolina League of Municipalities
North Carolina Pork Council
North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association
North Carolina Retail Merchants Association
North Carolina School Boards Association
North Carolina Forestry Association
American Insurance Association
Property and Casualty Insurers of America
National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
American Airlines
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
PSNC Energy
Forestry Mutual Insurance
Falls Lake Insurance Companies

Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber