Senate Finance Committee prepares to hear presumption legislation

January 15, 2019

The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee referred to the Senate Finance Committee two pieces of legislation impacting worker’s compensation for firefighters and other public safety employees.

SB 1030 (Cosgrove) adds cancers of the colon, brain, or tests to the existing list of conditions currently presumed to be an occupational disease when developed by firefighters and certain public employees and therefore covered by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. The bill also removes the compensability requirement that the employee who develops cancer had contact with a toxic substance encountered in the line of duty. The Committee incorporated identical legislation – SB 1022 (Chase), SB 1172 (McPike), & SB 1528 (Vogel) – into SB 1030. The bill, which is a companion to HB 1804 (Hugo), was reported and referred by the Committee unanimously 14-0 on January 14.

SB 1465 (McPike) establishes a presumption that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an occupational disease for firefighters, law-enforcement officers, 9-1-1 emergency call takers, and other first responders and is therefore covered by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. The bill is a companion to three House bills – HB 2281 (Filler-Corn), HB 2513 (Hugo), and HB 1706 (Kory). SB 1465 was reported and referred by the Committee unanimously 14-0 on January 14.

VACo staff has expressed concern to the Patrons and Committees regarding the fiscal impact of the bills on localities and cautioned that any major legislative action on Workers’ Compensation Presumption issues should wait until the Joint Legislative Audit & Review Commission (JLARC) completes its study of the issue.

VACo Contact: Jeremy Bennett

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