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Senate Journal: Page 1228: Monday, April 22, 2002

For the above reasons, I respectfully disapprove these items in accordance with
Amendment IV of the Amendments of 1968 to the Constitution of the State of Iowa.
All other items in Senate File 2326 are hereby approved as of this date.



May 9, 2002

The Honorable Chester Culver
Secretary of State
State Capitol Building

Dear Mr. Secretary:

I hereby transmit Senate File 2190, an Act concerning workers’ compensation,
which among other things, would reduce workers’ compensation payments made to
injured employees by expanding the ability of employers to apportion compensation
payments made to employees who suffer more than one work-related injury, or a single
injury that follows a preexisting functional condition.

The workers’ compensation statute has historically struck a carefully crafted
balance between the interests of employers and employees in the state of Iowa.
Legislators originally enacted the statute to create a consistent and fair compensation
schedule for workers who suffered injuries during the course of their employment. Like
the acts of most other states, the Iowa workers’ compensation statute guaranteed
prompt, yet limited, compensation for employee work-related injuries. Legislators also
crafted the original statute to promote industrial and workplace safety, and reduce the
likelihood that injured workers and their dependants would be forced to seek public
assistance. In exchange for this well-defined and structured system, employees gave up
all rights to seek full and fair compensation for their work-related injuries in a court of
law. Thus, the Iowa workers’ compensation statute became the exclusive remedy for
all work-related injuries, regardless of the circumstance.

Senate File 2190 destroys the effective balance between the interests of employers
and the well-being of injured workers by expanding an employer’s ability to apportion
workers’ compensation payments due and owing when the employer received a prior
payment for a prior injury. In essence, Senate File 2190 would allow an employer to
receive a ‘credit’ for any pre-existing condition that affected the employability of a
worker, whenever a subsequent workplace injury increased the industrial disability of
the worker, regardless of the nature of the subsequent injury, or its relationship to the
prior one. Senate File 2190 would also allow an employer to apportion a work-related
injury, even where a prior injury or disease would not cause an ascertainable portion of
the work-related injury, and wouldn’t independently produce some degree of disability
before the subsequent injury. This change would be clearly divergent from the common
law of tortious liability, and it would contravene the initial intent of the worker’s
compensation statute.

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