Missouri Governor Vetoes Bill That Would Have Established State-Wide Database of Comp Claims (and Claimants)

Yesterday (July 2), Governor Jay Nixon vetoed legislation [Senate Bill 34] that would have permitted created a state-run database system that would have contained basic information about workers’ compensation claims filed by the state’s residents and which would have been accessible to prospective employers. The employer would have been able to enter a potential employee’s name and Social Security number to identify the date of workers’ compensation claims and whether the claim was open or closed. Estimates by the state’s Division of Workers’ Compensation indicated the database might initially contain some 554,000 claim records, with about 13,000 records added each year.

Supporters contend the legislation would have helped both employers and employees–speeding the hiring process. Such proponents point out that essential information about workers’ compensation claims is already available by written request, but that the existing process generally takes two weeks, sometimes more, to complete.

“The bill would have unfairly given employers online access to personal data of Missouri workers injured on the job,” Missouri AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Mike Louis said. “Our state elected officials should work to make workplaces safer not violate privacy rights of hardworking Missourians.”

The future of the bill isn’t at all clear. It had passed by a 32–0 vote in the Senate and in the House by a vote of 91–67, some fourteen votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to override the governor’s veto and enact the law.

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