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Council on Workers' Compensation
March 8 , 2016
Members present : Mr. Beiriger, Ms. Bloomingdale ,
Mr. Buchen, Mr. Dernbach(Chair), Ms. Johnson, Mr. Kent, and Ms. Nugent
Member Excused: Mr. Ginsburg, Mr. Herzog, Mr. Redman, Mr. Schwanda,
Ms. Seiler, and Ms. Thomas
Staff present: Mr. Aiello, Ms. Endter, Mr. Krueger, Mr.
Moreth, and Mr. O'Malley
- Call to Order/Introductions:
Mr. Dernbach convened the
Worker's Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC) meeting at approximately 10:10
a.m. in accordance with Wisconsin's open meetings law. Mr.
called the roll of the members who appeared by telephone. WCD
staff and members of the audience introduced themselves.
- Approval of minutes:. A motion was made by Mr. Beiriger to approve the minutes of the
December 22, 2015
meeting . Ms. Bloomingdale seconded the motion.
The minutes were unanimously
approved without correction.
- Correspondence: Mr. Dernbach stated there was no new
correspondence received since the last meeting. He also stated that he had
received an e-mail message from Mr. Brand announcing his retirement from the
- Agreed Bill Status:
Mr. O'Malley informed the Council that the WCAC's Agreed Upon Bill
for this session became 2015 Wisconsin Act 180. It was
signed by the governor on March 29, 2016; was published on
March 1, 2016; and became effective on March 2, 2016. The
only exceptions to the March 2, 2016 effective date
concerned changes requested by LIRC for appeals of
administrative law judges' orders and appeals to Circuit
Court, with an effective date on July 1, 2016. Those changes
are found on page 7 of 2015 Wisconsin Act 180, in sections
34, 35, and 37. Copies of 2015 Wisconsin Act 180 and the
plain language summary of the Agreed Upon Bill provisions
were distributed to the Council. In addition, Mr. O'Malley
said the complete version of 2015 Wisconsin Act 180, the
plain language summary prepared by the Department, and
AB-724, was posted on the Department's web page under the
tabs for Legal and WCAC. AB-724 was posted because it
contains the drafter's comments and analysis. The
legislature passed the assembly version of the bill but its
companion bill in the senate was SB-536.
Ms. Bloomingdale wanted
it noted that the amendment to AB-724 to repeal s. 102.07 (6), Wis. Stats.,
came from the Council and was approved by both the labor and management
members of the Council. Mr. O'Malley explained that s. 102.07 (6), Wis.
Stats., defined people selling or distributing newspapers or magazines on
the street or from house to house as employees. With the amendment repealing
the definition, people selling or distributing newspapers and magazines will
be subject to the nine (9) part test for independent contractor status in s.
102.07 (8) (b), Wis. Stats.
- Social Security Reverse Offset:
Mr. O'Malley informed the Council that Wisconsin is one of
nine (9) states that have
a reverse offset for Social Security Disability Insurance
benefits, resulting in the reduction of the worker's
compensation indemnity benefits payable for a claim. The offset
ends when a person reaches the full retirement age for social
security. Mr. O'Malley
said that Insurance Letter No. 508 was sent to advise everyone
that the full retirement age of 65 applies to those persons who
reach the age of 65 before December 18, 2015. Those persons who
reach age 65 on and after December 19, 2015, will have the
reverse offset apply until they reach the full retirement age of
66. This is a change in federal law. The full retirement age
depends on the year of birth. Prior to this change, the social
security reverse offset ended at age 65.
- Future Meeting Dates:
Mr. Dernbach asked the Council if they would like to set a schedule
of meetings to prepare for the next agreed upon bill process,
pointing out that the Council holds a public hearing in December
to get in-put on issues to be considered.
Several of the members
suggested that the public hearing be moved to November. Mr.
Dernbach said they would check on the availability of the Pyle
Center to find a date in November. As for future meeting dates,
the Council agreed to meet on the second Tuesday of each month
after the public hearings: December 13, 2016, January 10, 2017,
February 14, 2017, and March 14, 2017, subject to change.
Several Council members
asked that the public hearing be announced by whatever means were available,
such as social media and the newspapers. Mr. Dernbach agreed to have the public
meeting publicized on the department's Facebook page and twitter account, the
newspapers, etc. He said the department's communication office could handle
this. In addition, the Council members expressed an interest in setting a date
by which all public comments would end, and suggested inviting the public to
comment at their next meetings.
- Labor and Industry Review Commission (LIRC):
Commissioner David Falstad gave a presentation to the Council on
the role and responsibilities of the Labor and Industry
Review Commission (LIRC). LIRC is comprised of three (3)
commissioners: Laurie McCallum, Chair, Bill Jordahl, and Mr.
Falstad. Mr. Falstad introduced Maria Gonzalez Knavel who
was recently appointed by the governor as general counsel to
LIRC; and Jeff Shampo, a senior LIRC attorney. The former
general counsel, Tracey Schwalbe, was named deputy general
counsel. Commissioner Falstad gave a broad overview of LIRC's mission to provide a
fair and impartial review of the decisions of the
administrative law judges in three programs, Unemployment
Insurance, Worker's Compensation, and Equal Rights. Mr.
Shampo answered questions. Commissioner Falstad especially
wanted to thank the Council for making the changes in the
agreed upon bill that were requested by LIRC.
- Other Business:
Mr. Kent asked if the Wisconsin Compensation Rating Bureau (WCRB)
completed an analysis of some of the tentative issues that
they were considering. Mr. Krueger explained that the WCRB
was still gathering information and had sent a survey to
insurers. Once the final report was prepared, it would be
shared with the Council. Mr. Beiriger asked if the labor
market economist's information on the number of employees in
multiple part-time jobs was prepared. Mr. Dernbach explained
there was no solid evidence, that the federal DOL was
intending to collect that data, and that it appeared as
though those numbers were declining.
Mr. Kent also asked
for copies of significant appellate court decisions that may
help inform their upcoming discussions. Mr. Beiriger and Mr.
Buchen suggested that the Council make contacts at the state
legislature to explain the role of the WCAC, especially to
the chairs of the labor committees.
- Adjournment: Motion by Ms. Bloomingdale, seconded by Ms. Johnson, to adjourn. The motion passed unanimously. The meeting was adjourned at about 11:20 a.m.