This post summarizes the status of various government liability and courts bills that MACo either considered or took a position on.
Workers’ Compensation Presumption for Firefighters: HB 1101 / SB 949 is a bill sponsored by the Administration that would expand the workers’ compensation cancer presumption for firefighters to include esophageal, brain, testicular, bladder, urethral, and digestive cancers. The minimum length of service requirement before the cancer presumption applies is increased from 5 to 10 years. The bill also establishes that the cancer presumption would apply for 20 years after a firefighter leaves service and the presumption for heart disease, stress, and lung disease would apply for 15 years after a firefighter leaves service. Finally, the bill establishes a “rolling cap” on non-medical expenses for the cancer presumption, meaning that a county’s total benefit payout in a given year may not exceed 110% of the county’s highest annual payout for such benefits. MACo opposed the bill based on its cost and MACo’s longstanding assertion that the public safety presumptions should be truly rebuttable. STATUS = PENDING. The House Economic Matters Committee heard HB 1101 on February 29 and are considering various amendments to the bill. The Senate Finance Committee will hear SB 949 on March 22.
Workers’ Compensation Presumption for Law Enforcement Officers: HB 615 would create a would create a new workers’ compensation public safety occupational disease presumption for State and local law enforcement officers who are required to wear a duty belt and suffer a lower back impairment resulting in partial or total disability. A law enforcement officer must have been a full-time employee for at least 5 years in order for the presumption to apply. The presumption applies for up to 5 years after the officer’s retirement. MACo opposed the bill, citing the common occurrence of back impairments throughout the population, the cost to counties, and the already generous presumptions for officers. STATUS = FINAL. The bill’s sponsor has withdrawn the bill, citing both the bill’s opposition and the need to rework the bill. The sponsor indicated the bill will be reintroduced next year.