By Chris Yow
TRUSSVILLE — A bill to eliminate the Alabama Dept. of Labor as a middle man in small business worker’s compensation issues was recently signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey. Representative Danny Garrett (R-Trussville) sponsored House Bill 242, the legislation that will now allow small business owners to deal directly with their worker’s compensation insurance provider if they elect to exempt themselves from coverage. State Senator Shay Shelnutt carried the bill in the Senate.
The bill ensures all employees must be covered, whether the corporate officer, or owner, is exempt or not.
“If the corporate officer or individual limited liability company member elects to be exempt from coverage, the election shall not relieve the employer from continuing coverage for all other eligible employees who may have been covered prior to the election or who may subsequently be employed by the employer,” the bill states.
Under previous law, the business owner would have to submit paperwork to the Alabama Department of Labor, and the DOL would then simply file the paperwork. Garrett said this just eliminated the government from the equation.
“All the Department of Labor did was file the paperwork,” he said. “This allows business owners to deal directly with their insurance providers.”
Ivey recently signed into law Senate Bill 316 and House Bill 390 along with the Garrett-sponsored legislation. All three bills, improve Alabama’s business climate by reducing regulation and by making it easier for small businesses to operate in the state.
“From day one, my quest has been to ensure the world knows Alabama is open for business. By removing burdensome regulations on small businesses we are sending that signal loud and clear,” Governor Ivey said. “When businesses spend less on overhead and government regulation, they can invest more in hiring; that’s good for all Alabamians.”
I am thankful for the work of the legislature in passing these bills,” Ivey added.
Senate Bill 316, sponsored by Senator Paul Sanford, protects small businesses which are licensed in one municipality or county from being forced to buy a license in a second location just to make deliveries to that area. House Bill 390 protects franchise parent companies from lawsuits initiated against the organization’s franchisees, thereby allowing for the expansion of franchise opportunities in Alabama.
“My goal since entering the legislature in 2009 has always been to limit the size and scope of government, while also making Alabama a business-friendly state. Senate Bill 316 accomplishes that on both fronts,” Sanford said.