Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dodging the real problems in Missouri

The Post-Dispatch reported this morning that "Missouri's leading business groups are pushing three bills that they say would improve the state's chances for economic growth by overhauling workplace laws."  The proposals appear to be a legislative priority for the Republican-controlled state legislators and would
• Keep certain disputes over workers' injuries out of the courts and replenish a state fund that covers employees with pre-existing disabilities.
• Make it harder for workers to prove discrimination cases against employers.
• Rewrite the rules for personal-injury lawsuits.
These issues simply should not be priorities in Missouri, which is already among the most business-friendly states in terms of its regulatory climate.  In fact, "(i)n recent years, Missouri has enacted comprehensive reforms in its workers’ compensation system and enacted strong tort reform laws."  Further, Missouri is an "at will" state where it is already extremely difficult to prove workplace discrimination.

The highest priority should be reform of secondary education and workforce development.  Productive workers mean growth and prosperity and this is where Missouri has been sorely lacking for years.