SJR 17 - Simplification of Workers' Compensation and Occupational Disease Laws
Introduced by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Big Sandy, Senate Joint Resolution 17 identifies as a problem the patchwork of confusion created by frequent amendments to Title 39, Chapters 71 and 72. Chapter 71, addressing workers' compensation, covers 98 pages in the Montana Code Annotated, 2001. Chapter 72, the Occupational Disease Act of Montana, runs 13 pages. Changing employment practices, administrative rules, and recent court decisions have contributed to the confusion.
The study will involve reviewing whether statutes need changing to improve coordination with court decisions, reviewing administrative rules to determine whether they implement the statutes and policies set by the legislature, and determining whether statutes need revising to reflect changing employment practices. The proposed goal is to make the workers' compensation statutes more understandable, reduce the time and the advice needed for compliance, and, ideally, reduce the number of court cases filed because of unclear statutes.