Senate panel votes down Rauner agenda item on workers comp

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Sen. Kwame Raoul | File photo/Sun-Times

SPRINGFIELD — A Senate panel on Wednesday voted down Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposal to change workers compensation rules in Illinois, with Democrats pointing to reforms passed by the state in 2011 and Republicans saying those did not go far enough.

The measure, defeated 8-4 before the Senate Judiciary Committee, is one component of Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda. Rauner has said the Democrat-controlled Legislature must adopt his agenda or they can expect a long summer. Rauner tapped Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, to argue on behalf of the proposed legislation.

The committee hearing grew heated at one point when state Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, accused the Senate chair, state Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, of not having an alternative plan to Rauner’s.

“My question for you is, you said: ‘I just saw this language and I don’t like it,’ so where’s yours?’ ” Barickman asked.

A clearly agitated Raoul shot back:“Mine was a 2011 package that we negotiated with negotiators at the table, the right way, senator,” Raoul said, raising his voice and pointing his finger at Barickman. “As far as the working groups, senator, I brought up the same points I brought up today, which were not addressed, senator.”


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