Workers’ Compensation Among Senate Committee Topics Monday

TRENTON – The Senate Labor Committee on Monday will gather testimony on recommendations to improve the State workers’ compensation system after published reports suggested reforms are needed to the way injured employees are dealt with in New Jersey.

“Before we recommend changes, we should hear from the people who are directly involved in the system on a day-to-day basis,” said Senator Paul Sarlo, Chairman of the Senate labor panel. “I start off considering our (compensation) system to be one of the best in the country.”

Leadoff testimony will be solicited from Commissioners David J. Socolow of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and Steven M. Goldman of the Department of Banking and Insurance, Senator Sarlo said.

Senate Majority Leader Stephen M. Sweeney, a proponent of overhauling the workers’ compensation system, also is expected to testify along with representatives of the Association of Trial Lawyers, New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company, the State’s Business and Industry Association and the AFL-CIO.

A total of six Senate committees will be meeting on Monday (agendas are attached).

The Senate Education Committee is expected to consider a bill, S-1527, sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner, Chairwoman of the panel, to require school employees to undergo electronic fingerprinting.

The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee is scheduled to consider a package of bills sponsored by Senator Ronald Rice, D-Essex, to monitor conditions at welfare motels and to coordinate programs for the homeless.

Senator Rice also has a bill, S-757, to revise procedures for the use of eminent domain in municipal redevelopment programs up before the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

The Community and Urban Affairs panel also is expected to consider a bill, S-710, sponsored by Senator Bob Smith and Senate Majority Leader Sweeney to provide a tax exemption for homeowners who make home improvements that reduce consumption of water or energy.

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