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Proposed workers’ comp rules reworked

first_img Proposed workers’ comp rules reworked Senior EditorProposed procedural rules for workers’ compensation cases — which caused substantial concern for the Bar’s Workers’ Compensation Section — have been substantially revised from the initial draft and have been posted on the Internet.Scott Stephens, deputy chief judge of compensation claims for the Division of Administrative Hearings, said one more public hearing also is likely early next year on the rules. He also said although the Bar section is upset that DOAH is working on the procedural rules revisions instead of the Supreme Court, that the state law clearly gives the agency the rule-making responsibility and authority.The section has filed a motion with the Supreme Court asking it to intervene and block the administrative agency from making procedural rule changes. The Attorney General’s Office, on behalf of DOAH, has filed a response defending the agency’s actions.But Stephens said while that legal issue is pending before the Supreme Court, he’s continuing with the nearly completed work of redrafting the procedural rules. And he said while some section criticisms of the initial draft, contained in a December 1 story in the Bar News, were reasonable, the latest version is substantially different.That new edition reflects suggestions made by workers’ comp lawyers and others from three public hearings, plus the input from each of the state’s 31 judges of compensation claims, Stephens said.“I am committed to trying to keep the procedure as close as possible to the current procedures because I want to minimize disruption,” he said. “There are some important changes in my view that ought to be made.”One of those seeks “to get the judge less involved in the attorney-client relationship. When the rules are being promulgated by an administrative body instead of the court, that’s inappropriate [for a judge to be as involved as an Article V judge],” he said.The concern is that administrative judges, who in this case are members of the executive branch, should not interfere in the judicial branch function of overseeing the legal profession, Stephens said.“Another example is we’re going to increase the flexibility of the judges to decide motions without having to hold a hearing if the judge doesn’t want to hold one,” he added.Overall, “The rules that we have will be shorter; they won’t be repeating the language of the statute as much as the existing rules do,” Stephens said. “In terms of changing the substantive rights of the parties, there’s no intent to do that.”He disagrees with the criticism the proposed rules are excessively couched in legalese, forcing parties to use attorneys. “There’s a conscious effort to make it as plain as possible,” he said. “Given that it’s workers’ compensation and we’re interpreting a very complex statute, that’s very hard to do.”Under state procedures, there will be one more public hearing on his latest draft if anyone requests it, which Stephens anticipates. After any further revisions, the rules will become effective unless there is a legal challenge, which is also a possibility.Stephens praised the work of administrative law Judges Linda Rigot and Kent Wetherell, who he said did most of the drafting of the new rules. And he said DOAH Chief Judge Sharyn Smith has closely monitored the process.“While Judge Smith has designated me to be the primary policy maker on the rules, it has been very much a collaborative effort with DOAH, as well as including the JCCs and Bar comments,” he said.A 1993 law gave the judges of compensation claims authority and responsibility to do their own procedural rules, but it was never done and the Supreme Court continued to do the rules as it does for criminal, civil, and other courts. But Stephens said when he was hired in 2001 to oversee the compensation judges, there was no doubt left that was to change.“The Governor’s office, when I first spoke to them after taking office, made it clear they expected the rules to be promulgated,” Stephens said, adding he also heard from legislators on the issue.And while the section is challenging the effort as undermining the Supreme Court’s authority, Stephens said he disagrees with that analysis. Judges of compensation claims, he argued, are not mentioned in Article V as constitutional judges. They are created in Chapter 440 and the Supreme Court has held they are part of the executive branch, not the judiciary.And the 1993 revision to F.S. § 440.45 made it clear that “the office of the chief judge not just has the authority but the responsibility to make procedural rules applicable to workers’ compensation,” Stephens said.He also noted that while the Workers’ Compensation Section may have had questions about early drafts of the rules, the challenge to the court is a legal issue that has nothing to do with the rules’ content.Stephens hopes to have the rules posted on the Internet early this month, athttp://www.jcc.state.fl.us. January 1, 2003 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Proposed workers’ comp rules reworkedlast_img read more

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Chart of the Week: Alternatives investors bullish on UN SDGs

first_imgMore than 90% of investors in alternatives believe the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will help the financial industry tackle pressing environmental and social issues, according to a survey.Around a third of the investors “fully” shared this outlook, while the remainder (60%) “somewhat agreed,” according to the survey report.A large majority (89%) of the investors indicated they thought the goals would help them measure more specific environmental, social or governance (ESG) outcomes, and 78% thought the SDGs would create new investment opportunities.The survey was carried out by LGT Capital Partners, part of the Liechtenstein royal family’s banking and asset management group. The $60bn (€54bn) alternatives specialist surveyed more than 200 investors from 28 countries who invest in private equity, real estate, private debt, infrastructure and hedge funds. Source: Source: GI Hub/Edhec Infrastructure Institute Source: GI Hub/Edhec Infrastructure InstituteImportance of ESG factors for infrastructure investors – 2016 GI Hub/Edhec survey#*#*Show Fullscreen*#*# Source: LGT Capital PartnersAccording to the survey, many investors had already taken concrete steps “to help turn the promise of the SDGs into an investable reality” and a large proportion was planning to start integrating (40%) and reporting on (48%) them in the next two years.Expectations-practice gapLGT said the survey showed investors were “grappling” to find the right approach to incorporating the goals into their investment processes, with few (10%) assessing the impact of companies on the SDGs and even fewer (8%) reporting on this impact.“These numbers are broadly in line with what we at LGT CP have seen in the market, where many investors are talking about the SDGs, and some are defining taxonomies or mapping their existing investments to the goals,” said the company.“This is a start, but it is also clear that investors foresee hurdles to putting significant amounts of capital behind the goals.”According to LGT, the survey showed that a significant proportion of investors (18%) already had impact or SDG-related allocation targets, and another 28% planned to have them in the next two years.The share of investors willing to make such allocations increased significantly with experience, the report added.“The most experienced ESG investors (seven years or more) in our sample are twice as likely, 32% versus 16%, to have such allocations as those who are new to ESG (up to one year),” it said.On ESGLGT Capital Partner’s survey also covered the topic of ESG integration, with the manager highlighting several findings, including that:84% of investors believed integrating ESG factors into decision-making either had a neutral or positive effect on risk-adjusted returns; andmore than half of the surveyed investors (54%) said ESG was relevant to their decision-making and 47% said they had excluded managers on ESG groundsReputational risk and ethical objectives were the two most important drivers of ESG integration among the alternatives investors surveyed by LGT.Looking specifically at infrastructure investors, a survey carried out by Global Infrastructure Hub and Edhec Infrastructure Institute found that 97% now believed ESG factors were important considerations in infrastructure investment decisions, up from 86% in 2016.This was based on 36% of the surveyed investors agreeing with the statement that ESG was a “first order question, possibly at the expense of performance” in infrastructure investment, which was more than double the 17.2% reported in 2016, and 61% agreeing that ESG was “somewhat important but not an overriding consideration”.The proportion of investors indicating “ESG is unimportant in comparison with missing financial objectives” dropped from 14% to 3%.GI Hub CEO Marie Lam-Frendo said: “Infrastructure is a dynamic market, and the [survey] results can be used to help policy leaders around the world better understand the changing perceptions of investors in infrastructure. Importantly, the report highlights the significant growth in importance of ESG factors in the investment decision process.” The survey captured responses from 315 infrastructure investors, compared with 186 in the previous survey. The biggest share of respondents (43%) were institutional investors like pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and insurers, with fund managers making up a third, commercial and multilateral development banks 13%, and consultants 11%.Importance of ESG factors for infrastructure investors – 2019 GI Hub/Edhec survey “[I]nvestors are increasingly turning to the SDGs to make their ESG and sustainable investment activities more outcome-oriented,” said Tycho Sneyers, managing partner at LGT Capital Partners and board member of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). “The SDGs broaden the ESG scope from risk management to value creation in financial, natural and social capital.”What are your expectations for the UN SDGs within the financial industry?  last_img read more

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Local youth honored by Vets

first_imgRipley County, In. — Quinn Burdette was honored recently by the Veterans of Southeastern Indiana.Quinn was presented an American flag that was flown over the state capital in Indianapolis in honor of veteran Walt Bryant who was murdered earlier this year “because he respected Walt so much.”last_img

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