Another round of talks doesn’t end impasse on workers comp

  • Jerry Cornfield
  • Wednesday, May 18, 2011 4:19pm
  • Local News

This afternoon, House Speaker Frank Chopp negotiated on workers comp with Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown and Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbry, R-Moses Lake.

They focused on the major issue dividing the two chambers – offering injured workers the option of a voluntary settlement payment. A bipartisan majority in the Senate wants it but Chopp and a majority of his Democratic caucus does not.

Not surprisingly, they didn’t reach agreement. The three intend to meet again Thursday,

Afterwards, Holmquist Newbry offered the most optimistic assessment and hinted something new is coming.

“There’s progress because we’re talking. I think there’s a little bit of movement,” she said.
“There may be something more tomorrow, more concrete.”

“I still have a glimmer of hope that we can reach some sort of resolution and take a step forward this session,” she said, adding, “It’s not going to be what I want necessarily.”

Brown said: “There’s a very productive discussion going on but we don’t have an agreement.”

She said they spoke about the governor’s recent proposals. The main one is limiting lump sum buyouts to those aged 55 and over under certain conditions.

“As long as people are talking you have a better chance then when there is a standoff,” she said.

Chopp said the three of them had “some good discussions.”

When asked if he thought there had been any movement on the issue, he said, “Not yet.”

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