Is the Jones Act Still Being Debated?

Updating a series of blog posts we brought you recently, the Jones Act still appears to be under fire from lawmakers who would like to see the law repealed or want exemptions made to it.

According to the Associated Press, Hawaiian lawmakers have asked that the state be made exempt from portions of the Jones Act, as they say it makes domestic shipping costs higher for local goods than it does for other states. They would like to waive a portion of the law that requires ships transporting cargo between two U.S. ports to be built in the country and be primarily operated by U.S. citizens.

The politicians, Sen. Samuel Slom and Rep. Sam Kong, introduced resolutions to Congress in February asking for the exemptions. Additionally, they are asking that Alaska, Puerto Rico and Guam be made exempt from the portions of the law that were designed to protect the U.S. shipping industry.

“Today, the effect of the Jones Act is that people in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and Guam pay significantly more than the rest of the country for everyday necessities,” Slom said in a press release, according to the AP.

This news comes after U.S. Sen. John McCain introduced legislation to repeal the domestic requirements of the Jones Act earlier this year in the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act, which was vetoed by President Barack Obama.

The Importance of the Jones Act for Injured Workers

If you watch the video above, attorney David Anderson explains how the Jones Act applies to injured maritime workers. The Jones Act offers enables injured maritime employees seek recovery from employers if unsafe working conditions are prevalent aboard vessels.

While debate over the economic ramifications of the Jones Act remains prevalent, there is no denying that it has helped maritime employees who have been seriously injured in accidents or families who have lost a loved one. We will keep you updated on news coming out of Washington about maritime laws.

Keep in mind, to file a Jones Act claim, you must have worked on a vessel or contributed to the function of the watercraft. If you are an injured maritime worker who functions primarily onshore or in another capacity, there may be other laws that apply to your case. If you have any questions as to whether you have any rights, call Latti & Anderson LLP.

Latti & Anderson LLPNationwide Maritime Attorneys