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MO Senate backs bill to replenish disability fund

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri senators have endorsed legislation intended to replenish an insolvent state fund for injured workers.

Senators gave initial approval Tuesday night to a bill that would raise fees on businesses and narrow the type of future injuries covered by the Second Injury Fund. The fund has a $25 million deficit, which is expected to grow unless lawmakers take action.

The Second Injury Fund was created 70 years ago to cover disabled employees who suffer a second work-related injury or illness.

The legislation also seeks to reverse recent court rulings that concluded occupational diseases are not required to be covered by the workers' compensation system. The bill says they are, and it sets limits on how much money can be awarded for exposure to toxins like asbestos.

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