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S.L. Chamber to monitor 2 workers comp bills

Because there are Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce members on both sides of the issue of what powers the Workers Compensation Fund of Utah should have, the chamber's board of governors has decided to monitor two bills pending before the Legislature that would impact the fund.

David Bird, chairman of the chamber's legislative action committee, said many people believe the fund has done a good job in providing workers compensation insurance and reducing premiums, but there are others who want to prevent the fund from selling insurance outside Utah.Bird said HB167 has been sent to a standing committee and SB170 was distributed on Feb. 20 and no action has been taken. Both bills address the fund's participation with subsidiaries and joint enterprises.

In other action, the board adopted a resolution opposed to any legislation that would significantly increase health insurance premiums by mandating coverage of certain illnesses, diseases, service, supplies and any other benefits or health insurance policies regulated by the state.

As a result of the resolution, the board either opposes or favors monitoring 10 bills on subjects ranging from anesthesia during dental care for the elderly to hearing tests for newborns.

Because of ambiguity in legislation covering where weapons are allowed, the board adopted a resolution which said it favors allowing employers the right to control weapons in the workplace.

Board members also adopted a policy statement supporting the setting of water standards by the Department of Environmental Quality rather than by the Legislature.