A bill that would have made workers’ compensation claims more likely to be approved for ill Hanford workers failed to move out of a Senate committee by a Wednesday deadline.
Wednesday was the deadline for Senate committees to approve House bills during the 2017 session.
Substitute House Bill 1723 already had been approved by the House. It was discussed last week in a hearing of the Senate Commerce, Labor and Sports Committee, but a vote was not scheduled on the bill before the deadline.
Some senators found the bill too broad, said Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, who sponsored the bill.
The state Department of Labor and Industries, which decides workers’ compensation claims, would have been required to presume that a wide range of illnesses were caused by workplace exposures at Hanford. Now the state agency requires medical evidence that an illness is linked to a workplace exposure.
The bill required a person to have worked as little as a single eight-hour shift, anywhere at Hanford, at any time, to be covered by the proposed law.
Haler is not giving up. He said he will consider reworking the bill for introduction in another session and is pursuing other strategies for help for ill Hanford workers.