This week in Sacramento, your legislators are attempting to do once again what they did successfully in 2004 — to impose massive ‘reforms’ on the California workers’ compensation system through back room deals, under cover of night, at the last minute, without public comment.

An informational hearing scheduled for last week was cancelled at the last minute when it became clear that many against the proposed changes would be in attendance. Important stakeholders in the process have not been consulted. Some politicians in Sacramento, who may be asked to vote on this massive bill in the next week aren’t even aware that this process is going on and have not read any version of the proposal upon which might have to vote.

If the reforms are necessary and appropriate, why not open the discussion and invite debate and collaboration? If it is so necessary, why wait until the last days of this years’ Legislature to push through a cobbled together mish-mash of proposals?

California workers risk losing more control over access to treatment for work injuries. One glaring example is the proposal to eliminate the right of workers to claim any psychological disability as a result of a physical injury. That means that an individual who, as a result of injury at work, loses the ability to do their job, or the ability to do any job, or even the ability to walk, may not be able to claim any long-term emotional disability, as a result.

Let’s open up the doors of those back-room negotiations and allow for a thorough conversation of how to best build a workers’ compensation system that protects both the employer and the injured worker. Let’s work to build a fair system. Let’s have a conversation.

Paul Dores lives in Sabre Springs.

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Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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