The unanimous decision by the US Supreme Court to strike down a 2018 law regarding workers' compensation at Hanford will have little effect, according to WA Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

 Tuesday, the Court struck down the 'old' law

The court basically said the federal government could not lower standards for receiving workers' compensation for health issues just because the Hanford site contains more hazardous conditions.

Justice Brennan and the Court, according to the court papers, said the 2018 law violates what's called the Supremacy Clause. It singles out Hanford workers by allowing more 'lenient' criteria to receive compensation (as opposed to other federal workers).

According to the court papers:

"The law explicitly treats federal workers differently than state or private workers, and imposes costs upon the Federal Government that state and private entities do not bear. The law thus violates the Supremacy Clause unless Congress has consented to such regulation through waiver..."

   However, new state law will still provide compensation

The laws were passed a few years ago following those reports about Hanford workers becoming sick after working at the site. You may recall the vapor-related cases.However, earlier this year, the legislature modified and expanded the state law so that workers will still have the same basic protections, rendering the Supreme Court decision somewhat meaningless.

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WA AB Ferguson says the federal government technically could challenge this newer revised law, but so far there's been no sign they will do so.

 

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