House Adds 11th Hour Amendments, Passes Presumptions Expansion

During floor debate on Monday, the House of Delegates passed HB 1101, Administration-sponsored legislation to expend the disease-based presumptions offered to employees of fire departments under the state’s workers compensation laws.

In a somewhat surprising move, the House Economic Matters Committee offered floor amendments, which were accepted to expand the bill’s reach to cover both multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkins lynmphoma.

MACo has consistently argued that broad medical presumptions are inappropriate, as they virtually compel the Workers Compensation Commission to declare a disease as compensible (often meaning large settlement amounts) even where there is no evidence of any link to on-the-job exposure. When diseases that are increasingly common among the general population become subject to these presumptions, the fact-finding ability of a compensability hearing is undermined. Further, Maryland laws explicitly prohibit any ability to rebut the presumption — unlike similar laws in most other states, which offer the employer at least an opportunity to argue that the matter.

Read MACo’s opposition testimony to HB 1101 here.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties

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