Workers Comp Zone


2019 looks like a very modest year for workers’ comp legislation.

I’ll give a snapshot of what’s in the hopper in my coming mid-year recap of 2019 California workers’ comp developments.

But are there big changes on the horizon? After all, we are in in 2019, some seven years after the 2012 Jerry Brown reforms and some 15 years after the Schwarzenegger reforms.

Dan Walters seems to think so. Walters, who for decades covered the Sacramento political scene for the Sacramento Bee, has frequently had his eye focused on what lays over the horizon.

Walters now writes for cal, a non-profit that sponsors a worthy website covering California policy and politics.

Walters suggests that there is increasing momentum to do some significant reforms of California’s comp system. Here is his analysis:


2019 would not be the year for this.

What is unclear to me is what appetite the Newsom Administration would have for any significant change in the current system, with insurance rates at a low level and the system largely off of the radar.

After all, workers’ comp may be a critical thing to injured workers and system stakeholders, but it is far, far down the list of the California’s perceived problems with housing, water, income inequality, transit, criminal justice reform, immigration policy and the environment taking up the oxygen in the room.

Try talking workers’ comp with a bunch of strangers in a sports bar. You’ll likely get a bunch of blank stares.

Ultimately Walters may be correct, however. There will always be rounds of reforms to California’s system. The question is when, and what coalition has the power to push their agenda forward.

If that coalition is sufficiently broad, Newsom would likely get on board.

Stay tuned.

Julius Young