Workers' comp bill targets pro athletes

Arizona is on the verge of shutting the door on the ability of players for Arizona's professional sports teams to file workers' compensation claims elsewhere, even if that's where they were injured.

Legislation approved Wednesday by the House Commerce Committee would require any claim for medical care or lost wages by those employed by Arizona-based companies to be filed in Arizona, meaning the claims would be governed by state laws, which have less-generous benefits and more stringent standards of proof than many other states.

The law would have a big impact particularly on retired football and baseball players claiming degenerative injuries from their time on the field.

Sen. John McComish, R-Phoenix, said SB 1148, which already has been approved by the Senate, was brought to him by the state's sports teams, none of which testified before Wednesday's 7-2 committee vote.

But at an earlier Senate hearing, Nona Lee, an attorney for the Arizona Diamondbacks, said her team has been beset by many claims filed in California by former players saying they are entitled to benefits.

Representatives of the Major League Baseball and NFL players associations opposed the measure.

Citizens 45+ may get right to join militia

Older Arizonans may soon be able to join the state militia - to the extent it really exists.

Current state law says the militia consists of "all able-bodied citizens of the state" between 18 and 45. That includes the National Guard, inactive Guard members and the "unorganized militia," which is everyone else.

HB 2433 would allow those who are 45 and older to also be considered part of that unorganized militia.

Rep. Carl Seel, R-Phoenix, conceded the state has never called up this unorganized militia, but his bill would permit - not require - older Arizonans to serve if it were ever activated.

Capitol Media Services