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Gov. Jerry Brown waded into the workers' compensation negotiations at the Capitol this morning, urging lawmakers to approve what he called an "extraordinary bill" to increase benefits and reduce costs in the system.

Lobbyists for labor, employers, doctors, lawyers and insurers are working on a proposal in Senate Bill 863 that advocates say would increase payments to injured workers by an average of 29 percent. The plan would pare costs from the program by eliminating services that are frequently subject to lawsuits, such as enhancements for psychiatric problems, sexual dysfunction or loss of sleep.

Negotiations reportedly have faltered several times, but Brown urged perseverance:

"For months, people whom I trust have held public hearings and worked with labor and management to reform a broken system.," the Democratic governor said in a statement released this morning. "They have crafted an extraordinary bill that will avert an imminent crisis where workers suffer and rates will skyrocket. That happened in 2004, but this time, we have the chance to fix a problem before it becomes a crisis. We have the chance to make the Workers' Compensation System better--much better--for workers and cheaper for business."


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