On Jan. 16, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz introduced H.R. 3896 that will amend the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act to enable repair workers in the recreational boating industry to once again get worker’s compensation coverage by buying state worker’s compensation insurance rather than federal insurance.
In 2009, Congress passed a law that allowed the recreational repair industry to substitute state workers compensation coverage for federal insurance, a far less expensive option. But an administrative definition of recreational vessel hindered the intended consequence.
The new bill corrects the regulatory definition of recreational vessel for purposes of the Longshore Act and thus restores the ability to get state worker’s compensation coverage.
The House of Representatives is expected to take up this measure this session with an equally deliberate and bipartisan consideration in the Senate, according to a statement from the Marine Industries Association of South Florida. MIASF President Kristina Hebert, COO of Ward’s Marine Electric, has testified before Congress on behalf of MIASF to urge the enactment of this measure for the benefit of the recreational boating industry.
Duncan Smith, who represents MIASF in Washington, underscored that “the bipartisan support for this measure is very encouraging and will be the key to its eventual passage.”