by | May 3, 2023

Visit the most recent legislative update here.

Each year, Baylor Evnen Wolfe & Tannehill, LLP actively monitors and reports regarding workers’ compensation legislation that impacts our clients throughout the legislative session. Since our last Legislative Update, Senators and Committees have adopted a “combine and conquer” approach for bills, given the continuing filibusters on every bill considered by the Legislature. Generally speaking, this involves amendment of separate bills into larger priority bills so the total number of bills to be considered decreased.

LB 191, the Business and Labor Committee Priority Bill, was recently advanced to Final Reading. The bill is composed of multiple provisions that used to be in separate bills introduced this session, via Amendment LB 1330.  The current version strikes the original point of LB 191—to prevent the court from releasing First Reports of Injury for 60 days after it is filed—and includes provisions of LB 267, LB 460, LB 639, LB 671, LB 666, LB 427, and amended provisions of LB 249. The bills incorporated into LB 191 which relate to Nebraska workers’ compensation law include the following:

LB 460 relates to mental health injuries or mental illnesses for first responders pursuant to the Nebraska Workers Compensation Act. The bill provides for reimbursement by the Department of Health and Human Services for the cost of mental health examinations and resilience training to the extent not reimbursed by the first responder’s employer. Further, the reimbursement rate for mental health examinations would be established by the Critical Incident Stress Management Program, whose lead agency is the Department of Health and Social Services.

LB 639 amends provisions of Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act relating to rules and regulations, case progression standards, and summons and eliminates requirements to distribute copies of certain materials. Specifically, 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 and for entry of an order within 30 days after hearing, requires 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.

Outside of LB 191, LB 799 now includes the provisions of what was LB 426 and reduces the number of judges on the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act to six instead of seven judges. LB 799 has also been placed on Final Reading.

If you have questions about a bill, please contact Dallas Jones, Paul Barta or Eric Sutton at 402-475-1075.