UPDATED AS OF MAY 24 | 2023 NEBRASKA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Each year, Baylor Evnen Wolfe & Tannehill, LLP actively monitors the legislative session and reports regarding workers’ compensation legislation that impacts our clients. Since our last Legislative Update, LB 426, one of the bills monitored by our office, received final approval. LB 426 reduces the number of judges on the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court from seven to six, effective June 1, 2023. The bill had previously been amended into another bill (LB 799) to increase judges’ salaries throughout the Nebraska court system.
LB 191, the Business and Labor Committee Priority Bill, was also passed on Final Reading. The passed version of LB 191-to prevent the Court from releasing First Reports of Injury for 60 days after they are filed—also includes provisions of LB 267, LB 460, LB 639, LB 671, LB 666, LB 427, and amends provisions of LB 249. Of those, LB 460 and LB 639 are related to Nebraska workers’ compensation law. LB 460 provides for reimbursement by the Department of Health and Human Services for the cost of mental health examinations and resilience training for first responders, to the extent not reimbursed by the first responders’ employers. Further, the reimbursement rate for mental health examinations will be established by the Critical Incident Stress Management Program, whose lead agency is the Department of Health and Social Services.
LB 639 requires that notice of hearing on proposed workers’ compensation regulations be provided by publication in a newspaper at least 14 days before the hearing, removes the requirement that a hearing be held within 60 days of a petition being filed and for entry of an order within 30 days after hearing, requires that service of summons upon filing of a petition occur within 14 days after issue, and removes the Workers’ Compensation Court from the distribution list of session laws and the journal of the Legislature. An amendment was adopted to divert a portion of self-insured employers’ assessments (2.5% of prospective loss costs) from the State's General Fund to the Workers’ Compensation Court Fund to address budgetary needs of the Workers Compensation Court.
If you have questions about a bill, please contact Dallas Jones, Paul Barta or Eric Sutton at 402-475-1075.