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Hawaii chamber urges comp benefit bill vetoes


HONOLULU--The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii is urging its members to ask Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle to veto two workers compensation benefit bills that could delay an employee's return to work.

One bill, H.B. 855, would mandate that employers continue paying for disputed medical treatments until the state's director of labor and industrial relations holds a hearing and renders an opinion. If the director determines care under the workers compensation system was not justified, the employer or their insurer would be allowed to recover from the claimant's personal health plan.

The second bill, S.B. 1060, among other changes, requires employers to continue paying for disputed medical treatments and allow injured employees to continue receiving temporary total disability benefits until the director holds a hearing on the issue.

Each bill is sponsored by several Democratic lawmakers. Gov. Lingle, a Republican, has until June 25 to notify legislators if she intends to veto them.