As I write to you, the grueling US Presidential Election Campaign has finally come to an end. There will be a new Biden administration taking office on January 20, 2021. The new administration will bring new opportunities for WILG® and its legislative efforts. Likewise, the new Congress will be sworn in on January 3, 2021 at noon. While we know who will lead the Executive Branch and which party will control the House of Representatives, control of the Senate is yet to be determined. The remaining two senate seats for Georgia will be resolved by runoff election scheduled for January 5, 2021. Should the Democratic party candidates prevail in both Georgia runoff elections, the Democrats will control both houses of Congress and the Executive Branch.
What will a Biden administration mean for WILG® and those workers' compensation systems under the Department of Labor? We do not yet know, but we do know, the departure of the current Secretary of Labor, Eugene Scalia (son of deceased US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia) can only improve the rights of injured American workers. There will be much more work for the new Secretary of Labor to do just to repeal and correct the more aggressive attacks on workers' rights launched by the Trump administration over the last four years. One initial step WILG will encourage be taken is the immediate repeal of the Department of Labor's proposed rule defining who is an "independent contractor''. The Department of Labor's proposed rule amended last September would make it easier for an employer to misclassify employees as independent contractors, thus stripping them of basic wage & hour protections, workers' compensation benefits, health insurance, and other benefits employees are entitled to receive.
As for WILG®'s other Federal legislation items: our proposed MSP (Medicare Secondary Payor) bill; Federal Minimum Standards bill; Longshore and FECA issues, we believe progress can be made with the new Congress, especially if Democrats take control of the Senate. We will have better information for you as the new administration fleshes out its initial legislative agenda and begins to fill key cabinet posts.
With regard to WILG®'s planned upcoming Regional Seminar for the Northeast (December 2020), the decision has been made, due to local COVID-19 restrictions, to postpone the event. While, like our 2020 convention, it is regrettable we cannot continue with business as usual, the Executive Committee of WILG®, after weighing all relevant factors, determined this was the best and safest course of action. Please stay tuned for more information on our plans for a Spring Conference 2021.
As I begin my term as your president of WILG®, I have already been inspired by the support and willingness to contribute to the service of WILG® shown by so many of our members. Those of you who would like to become more involved in WILG®, please do not hesitate to let either me, executive director Jennifer Comer, or any other member of the executive committee know. We will find a place for you!
Mr. Malcolm M. Crosland Jr. Esq.
The Steinberg Law Firm, L.L.P.
61 Broad Street
Charleston SC 29402
Click here to read President Tom Holder's President's Messages
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