SBD/May 28, 2014/Sports in Society

Louisiana State Legislator Pulls Workers' Comp Bill That Would Have Affected Saints

Brees was among 50 Saints players to express opposition to the bill
Louisiana House of Representatives member Chris Broadwater yesterday "decided to pull" the workers' compensation bill that was supported by Saints Owner Tom Benson, but publicly opposed by many of the team's players, according to Emily Lane of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. Broadwater said he "is not planning to move the bill further." He said that he is doing so "in hopes that the parties can come to a compromise regarding the formula used to calculate workers compensation benefits." His decision "came hours before Saints players were apparently expected to show up at Louisiana State Capitol to express their opposition." The Senate today "was scheduled to vote on final passage of the legislation." The legislation, which would only allow injury claims based off of a given player's weekly pay at the time of the injury, has "been the subject of both a statewide and national spotlight." Opponents said that the proposed law "could create a domino effect of similar legislation in other states with pro teams" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 5/28). Lane writes the decision to withdraw the bill turned "what would have probably been one of the hardest lobbying sells ... in recent history, into a meet-and-greet gush fest" between about 50 Saints players -- including QB Drew Brees -- and the legislators. Coincidentally "or not, Broadwater decided to scrap the bill for the rest of this year's legislative session just hours before" the players came. It is "unclear if a compromise is imminent or even possible between the owners regarding the weekly formula for workers compensation." NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith "gave credit to team leadership in New Orleans for their role in getting the bill deferred" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 5/28).
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