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NEWS RELEASE
Apr 16, 2004


CONTACT: Doug Heller - 310-480-4170

Group Says Lawmakers Should Know What's In Workers' Compensation Reform Bill Before Voting

FTCR Offers $1,000 to Favorite Charity of Lawmaker Who Has Read And Understands 77 Page Bill Made Public Thursday at 3:25 am
Sacramento, CA -- The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) today criticized California lawmakers and Governor Schwarzenegger for jamming a secretly negotiated workers' compensation reform bill through the legislature. The 77-page bill is considered to be the most sweeping overhaul of the state's workers' compensation system in decades. The bill was first made public in a committee hearing at 3:25 am on Thursday, April 15 and is expected to be voted upon today.

"It is unlikely that any lawmaker actually read the entire bill and nobody has had the time to figure out what it will actually do," said FTCR's Executive Director Douglas Heller. "If politicians cannot promise Californians that they know what is in the bill, then they should not be voting on it."

FTCR offered to make a $1,000 donation to the favorite charity of any lawmaker who would certify that they had read the entire bill and could answer ten questions about the substance of the bill. The nonpartisan organization was concerned that the bill had not been sufficiently reviewed to ensure that it would provide savings and not unfairly harm California businesses or workers.

FTCR said that, despite the length and complexity of the bill, there appeared to be no pages, paragraphs or even phrases that would regulate insurers or in any way guarantee that savings from the bill would be passed on to businesses. The group added that even if the proposal contained regulatory reforms in the bill, it would be unacceptable to attempt such speedy passage, as the public process of vetting proposed legislation was essential to making good public policy.

"The last time California lawmakers made such sweeping changes with so little public process, we got energy deregulation. Governor Schwarzenegger promised that he would bring sunshine to Sacramento and open the government process up for the public, but this deal was done under the cover of night," said Heller.

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