SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown, whose personal lobbying efforts helped close a complex deal to overhaul California's $17-billion-a-year workers' compensation insurance system, is praising both Republican and Democratic lawmakers for their overwhelming support.
"I commend the Legislature for an extraordinary workers' compensation reform bill that helps injured workers and averts an imminent crisis of skyrocketing rates," Brown said just before lawmakers adjourned for the year at midnight Friday.
"Again, Republicans have joined Democrats to work together -- perhaps a portent of good things to come," he said.
The workers' compensation bill, SB 683 by Sen. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles), passed the state Assembly on a 66-4 vote and the Senate 34-4.
Backers of the bill, including labor unions and employers, contend that the overhaul will boost benefits for injured workers by $740 million a year at the same time it cuts costs in the system and keeps companies from having to pay higher insurance premiums.
Earlier in the day both houses also showed bipartisan support for another far-reaching bill aimed at reducing the cost of state and some local government pensions for public employees.
The governor is hoping that goodwill and cooperation in the Legislature will spread to the largely Republican business community and voters when they consider a ballot measure in November to raise sales and income taxes.
Brown is counting on the new revenue to balance next year's budget and avoid having to slash public services and and spending on schools and universities.
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