Supreme Court ruling benefits sick coal miners

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that
the state is violating the constitutional rights of coal miners
suffering from black lung disease by setting up an arduous system
of medical screenings to qualify for worker's compensation.

A divided high court concluded Thursday that a state law
requiring miners to undergo a litany of tests that workers in other
occupations aren't subjected to runs afoul of the constitutional
guarantee of equal protection under the law.

In a 34-page decision written by Justice Will T. Scott, the high
court found no "rational basis and justifiable reason for the
disparate treatment of coal workers."

Kentucky, one of the nation's top coal-producing states, has a
stringent black lung law that makes it difficult for sick miners to
qualify for workers compensation.

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