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Deal Speeds Athletes Workers' Comp Bill Through Capitol Committee

Jul 10, 2013

Assemblymember Henry T. Perea (D-Fresno) introduced the bill (file photo)
Credit The Californian / Reporting on Health Collaborative

A workers’ compensation bill that’s provoked a high-stakes lobbying fight between professional sports teams and players unions has passed a key hurdle in the California legislature.

The bill would prevent out-of-state athletes from filing claims in California’s workers’ comp system.  Under a deal reached to move the measure forward, athletes who spend part of their career in the state would be eligible only if they play a certain amount of time for California teams. 

Ed Lamb is the chief financial officer for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers.  He says the deal strikes a strong balance,"between protecting California’s employees and closing what we believe is a very egregious loophole that allows out-of-state claims to be filed here in California.” 

But Ned Ehrlich with the NFL Players Association says his organization still can’t support the measure.

"We don’t understand why professional athletes are being singled out for disparate treatment as opposed to that for any other employee in the state of California,” says Ehrlich. 

The bill still faces votes in both legislative chambers before it can reach the governor’s desk.