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Senate panel to wade into workers' comp

(iStock/Qwasyx)

As the legislative session nears the halfway point, a Senate committee Monday is slated to take up a bill that would revamp workers' compensation insurance laws.

Business groups, insurers, plaintiffs' attorneys and labor organizations are closely watching the workers' compensation issue after a pair of Florida Supreme Court rulings last year helped lead to a 14.5 percent rate increase for businesses.

The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee on Monday is scheduled to consider the bill (SB 1582), filed by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island.

The biggest issue in the debate is attorney fees, after the Supreme Court last year struck down strict limits on fees paid to lawyers for injured workers.

Bradley's bill would allow fees up to $250 an hour --- an idea that has drawn opposition from business groups and insurers.

A House bill (HB 7085), filed by Insurance & Banking Chairman Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, was scheduled to be discussed Wednesday by the House Commerce Committee but was removed from the agenda.

Commerce Chairman Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, said he expects to take up the bill next week. Burgess' bill emerged from the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee.