Bill revamping black lung system makes headway

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KY Capitol

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – The Kentucky Senate’s top leader has presented a last-minute plan to reduce the beleaguered coal industry’s costs to cover claims by workers suffering from black lung disease.

Senate President Robert Stivers’ plan would alter how future black lung claims are paid, with the goal of reducing and phasing out assessments paid by coal companies to help cover claims. As the coal sector has shrunk, it has left fewer businesses to pay higher assessment rates.

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Supporters say there would be no changes in benefits paid to ailing coal workers.

The proposal was attached to a bill that won approval from a Senate panel on Thursday and faces a tight deadline. It has to clear the Senate and House by the end of Thursday, the final day of this year’s legislative session.

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