FRANKFORT, KY.—Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed legislation Mar. 30 that will limit workers’ compensation benefits for permanent partial disability to 15 years from the date of their on-the-job injury. State Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) said the measure “gives certainty to the industry for what their costs and liabilities would be.” It will let workers whose benefits expire apply for recertification, but also resurrects the “consensus reading” system, in which coal miners trying to get medical benefits for pneumoconiosis (black-lung disease) had to have their lung X-rays reviewed by multiple radiologists, and extends it to asbestosis, silicosis, and mesothelioma. The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that process unconstitutional in 2012, after several years in which more than 90% of claims for black lung were dismissed. “Kentucky legislators who will not take steps to prevent miners from getting black lung are keeping them from getting the compensation they deserve when they do get it,” Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan and United Mine Workers of America District 12 vice president Steve Earle wrote in the Lexington Herald Leader. “Every legislator who voted for it will have the blood of thousands of Kentucky workers on their hands.” Read more


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