The subcommittee of the Wisconsin legislature that writes the state’s budget rejected Governor Scott Walker’s proposal to cut the board that handles Wisconsin employment disputes. The board, which is independent, is known as the Labor and Industry Review Commission. It dates back to 1911.
The commission is responsible for reviewing issues related to employment surrounding workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance and equal rights in the workplace. The commission reviews appeals of decisions handed down by the Department of Workforce Development and the State Department of Administration.
Under the proposal from Governor Walker, the responsibilities of the commission would’ve been transferred to the governor’s administration. Walker claimed that removing the commission would get rid of an unnecessary layer of government. He said it would also help to streamline the timeframe for decisions.
The budget-writing committee voted to decline the proposal, keep the commission, and eliminate 7.8 vacant positions. The committee also asked the State Supreme Court Chief Justice to review the decisions of the commission that determines which statutes are used in its opinions.
There have been complaints that some commission decisions have been overturned by circuit court judges due to the rulings not being based on current laws. Five percent of the commission’s decisions were appealed in circuit court in 2016, which equates to 88 decisions. These numbers were reported by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
“We’re trying to find the balance here: Is LIRC a necessary function to preserve equal rights and safety, or is it an added layer of bureaucracy?” a budget committee member said. “I think we need some information on that and if we look at the report and we decide we need to come back to this, we can.”
Workers’ compensation is an important benefit employees receive from their employer when they can no longer work due to an accident or illness suffered on the job. An experienced personal injury attorney in Wisconsin will be able to answer all of your questions regarding this topic.
Source: The Cap Times, “Wisconsin budget committee wants study of Labor and Industry Review Commission decisions,” Jessie Opoien, May 18, 2017