Judge Blocks Raid On Mine Workers' Compensation Funds

A Frankfort judge is blocking a legislative raid on workers’ compensation funds earmarked for injured Kentucky coal miners.

Kentucky lawmakers this year transferred almost $2 million from the Workers’ Compensation Fund for injured coal miners, to the Office of Mine Safety and Licensing. Attorney Ed O’Daniel of Springfield, who represents employers, says the state Supreme Court has already ruled such transfers are illegal.

“The particular money involved in Judge Wingate’s ruling has to do with special fund assessments that are paid by coal miners,” he says. “And this money is used to pay black lung benefits.”

Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate says the transfer of private monies into the General Fund is illegal per se, and he’s blocking the transfer until he can hear further arguments in the case.