In a 4-3 ruling in January in Schoemehl v. Treasurer of Missouri, the Missouri Supreme Court held that when a worker covered by the Second Injury Fund dies, his or her dependents can continue to collect benefits from the fund. The Second Injury Fund covers workers with pre-existing injuries or disabilities who are hurt again on the job. The Schoemehl decision is expected to cost the fund an additional $35 million a year.
The Senate in April passed SB 668 to invalidate the decision. However, House Workforce Development and Workplace Safety Committee Chairman Steve Hunter, R-Joplin, blocked the bill. Hunter’s then-employer, Associated Industries of Missouri, wanted sweeping changes to the Second Injury Fund rather than just a fix of the Schoemehl ruling.