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Illinois Senators Pass Workers' Compensation Bills, Despite Republican Objections

Illinois Senate Democrats made another attempt Friday to satisfy the demands of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s economic agenda.

The Republican governor has said the expense of workers' compensation insurance has driven businesses out of the state.

Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, sponsored legislation meant to bring costs down.

"I know workers' comp. I’ve practiced workers' comp on behalf of employers," he said during debate. "This, if implemented right, will save employers money, and I urge an aye vote."

But just one Republican voted for it: Sen. Sam McCann of Plainview. The rest, like Sen. Michael Connelly, R-Lisle, say the measure isn't enough. 

“You will know that it’s true workers’ compensation reform when the lion’s share of the ‘yes’ votes come from the Republican side of the aisle," Connelly said.

The legislation would make a lot of technical changes intended to bring down costs.

Senators, mostly Democrats, also approved a plan to create a public corporation to sell workers' compensation insurance. It's intended to be a lower-cost alternative to the existing private market.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.