THEIR VIEW: Webster can't keep her hands off Workers' Comp

By The West Virginia Record | Mar 5, 2009




CHARLESTON -- If the House leadership adds a revamping of the medical malpractice reform to their agenda, then they will completely want to rewrite the two actual success stories in our state over the last 10 years.

After all, Carrie Webster -- at the prodding of her trial lawyer buddies -- again wants to step in and rewrite workers comp laws.

Well, wait, let's be honest, she wants to rewrite the law so that her trial lawyers can begin racking up loot like the good ol' days.

You remember those days? Workers' Comp was out of control, it was the worst problem our state faced.

Of course, it wasn't such a problem for the trial lawyers who got rich off the program. Democratic patriarch Pat Maroney pulled in a cool $10 million over the years representing the UMWA. He lives in a palace while the people supposedly hurt got a pittance.

Well, Webster -- who is the chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee -- and her trial lawyer pals miss the good ol' days of Workers' Comp.

The problem is downstairs at the Capitol. You know him, his name is Joe Manchin.

Manchin's biggest accomplishment to date is putting the final nail in the coffin of the Workers' Comp scourge the unions and trial lawyers laid on this state.

He is not going to allow the law to be rewritten.

So, what Carrie wants is to slowly revamp the law by changing it quietly through the 'rule-making' process.

This is a process that can change the law slowly and quietly and stay away from having run-ins with the governor. Rules bills get 'bundled' at the end of session and pass all at once.

In fact, most legislators have no clue how the rule-making process even works.

What a better way to reverse the success of the law to allow the unions to rack up claims and the trial lawyers to make millions off of them.

Hopefully, the Senate squashes this House leadership initiative. If not, they might come after the Med Mal law that also has had success. You remember Medical Malpractice reform, right? Remember how the trial lawyers said it wouldn't make a difference? Ask your local hospital and doctors' offices if the law is working.

Success of these programs means less money in trial lawyer pockets. That's anathema to Carrie Webster and the House leadership who are beholden to trial lawyer loot on election day.

Sprouse is the former Minority Leader of the West Virginia Senate. He currently owns a consulting company in Charleston.

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