Builders' lobby sponsors workers' comp initiative

OLYMPIA -- A new voter initiative sponsored by a construction-industry group would break up the state government monopoly on workers' compensation.

The Building Industry Association of Washington announced its campaign Wednesday for Initiative 1082. The initiative would allow private workers' comp insurance to compete with the state government system.

Washington is one of four states that do not allow private companies to offer workers' comp.

The initiative also would cut the employee share of workers' comp premiums, putting the full cost on employers.

The BIAW needs about 241,000 valid petition signatures by July 2 to get the initiative on the fall ballot. Organized labor opposes a private workers' comp system, so any fall campaign would be hotly contested.

-- On the net: I-1082,