Workers Comp Zone


Governor Jerry Brown was quoted this week as saying “I’m going to veto a lot of bills over the next 30 days,”

“So I have to say to some, fasten your seat belt cause this is going to be a rough ride. They’ve given me 600 bills and there’s not 600 problems that we need those solutions for,” Brown said.

Will that include workers’ comp bills?

Many of the bills headed to Brown’s desk involve modest changes that would round off some of the sharp edges of the Schwarzenegger reform years. Brown may be loathe to cross labor and injured worker advocates who worked on the bills. And many of the bills appear to be good from a policy standpoint.

Further, if Brown does veto some or all of the bills, it’s unlikely that doing so will give him any significant bargaining chips with a Republican legislative minority that has been almost totally uncooperative with his efforts on the states fiscal crisis to date.

On the other hand, Brown is nothing if not unpredictable. He is likely concerned about any possibility that workers’ comp costs will spiral at a time when the economy is weak. He may be concerned about perceptions
about the comp system generally. Workers’ comp was never a happy issue for Brown.

Workers’ comp never surfaced as a significant issue in the race against Meg Whitman. Aside from some vague comments at occasional fundraisers, I’m not aware of any promises Brown made to any stakeholder groups on workers’ comp.

That’s what may make his action on the various bills interesting. If there are vetoes it may give us a sense of what Brown is prepared to do with comp overall…whether he is engaged or disengaged on the issues….whether he would encourage stakeholders to reach a more grand compromise on issues involving benefits and cost containment, etc.

I could be way off the mark, but I suspect we’ll see a mixed result. Some signings and some vetoes. That’s my sense of it.

Here is a link to a post by Wyatt Buchanan in the San Francisco Chronicle, discussing Brown’s veto pen: … y_id=97554

Here is a link to a post from last week discussing some of the bills: … 909-211653

Stay tuned.

Julius Young

Category: Political developments