Republicans attempted a maneuver in the House on Thursday that would have allowed a vote on a bill establishing the option of settlements into the state's workers' compensation system, but they failed to get enough backing from moderate Democrats.
Rep. Charles Ross, R-Naches, asked the body to vote on the motion; it was voted down 54-43 with only one Democrat siding with the Republicans.
Moderate Democrats say the Republicans acted prematurely and have set back negotiations on a compromise.
“This blows things apart,” said Rep. Chris Hurst, D-Enumclaw. “It was premature. The progress we’ve been making between the moderate Democrats in the Senate, the moderate Democrats in the House and the Republicans in the Senate, our hope was to have an agreement not liked by anyone but acceptable by everyone.”
About 85 percent of compensation costs come from only 8 percent of all claims, which involve workers who are receiving benefits for a prolonged period or have lifetime pensions, according to the Department of Labor and Industries. To curb that, businesses want a lump-sum settlement option.