SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR)– Lots of legislation going through the capitol this week faced contention with many votes falling among party lines but one measure headed to the governor’s desk got support from both sides.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say they want essential workers to have protections in the event the catch COVID-19 while working.
A measure clarifying the role workplaces play in keeping employees safe passed overwhelmingly out of both chambers. In Illinois’ Workers’ Compensation Act, the burden of proof usually falls on the worker that gets hurt and it does not apply to emergency personnel.
Once this new measure becomes law, first responders can legally argue that they caught the coronavirus while working. Employers can counter argue if they prove they took precautionary steps in the workplace. One House member said the bill had to pass to keep workers here safe.
“I hope our vote here today reflects a unanimous vote letting employers know that this is absolutely unacceptable in the state of Illinois for our essential workers,” said Rep. Karina Villa of West Chicago.
Lawmakers said businesses played a key role in making sure this legislation was reasonable for the workplace and the people working there.