Governor Brown Signs and Vetoes Work Comp Bills

                               

Sacramento, CA - Governor Brown has signed new provisions that apply to California Workers' Compensation Benefits. Here are highlights of new law that will take effect next January.

AB 1749 Workers’ compensation: off-duty peace officers.  This new law was created as a result of the October 1, 2017, mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The new law provides that an employer, at its discretion or in accordance with specified policies, is not precluded from accepting liability for compensation for an injury sustained by a peace officer by reason of engaging in the apprehension or attempted apprehension of law violators or suspected law violators, or protection or preservation of life or property, or the preservation of the peace, outside the state of California.

AB 2046 Workers’ compensation insurance fraud reporting. Requires data sharing between governmental agencies involved in combating workers' compensation fraud, and grants the Fraud Assessment Commission (FAC) discretion to augment an assessment with unused funds from a prior year's assessment. 

SB 880 Workers’ compensation prepaid cards. This bill would authorize an employer, with the written consent of the employee, to deposit disability indemnity payments for the employee in a prepaid card account. The bill would require the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation to issue a report  to the Legislature regarding payments made to those prepaid card accounts. 

SB 1086 Workers’ compensation: firefighters and peace officers. Section 5406.7 of the Labor Code currently sets extended time limits for death claims for firefighters and peace officers. By its terms, this provision was to expire on January 1, 2019.  The new law  deletes the January 1, 2019, date of repeal of Section 5406.7 so that the time limits will now apply to death cases after January 2019.

Governor Brown has vetoed several bills passed by the legislature that pertain to California Workers' Compensation Benefits. Here are highlights of what he chose not to sign into law. 

AB 479 Workers’ compensation: permanent disability apportionment. This proposed law would have set limits to apportionment of permanent disability in cases involving breast cancer. The veto message notes that is similar to three previous measures that he has vetoed, Assembly Bill 570 in 2017, Assembly Bill 1643 in 2016 and Assembly 305 in 2015. He said that this bill and its predecessors have repeatedly singled out specific conditions and proposed a special set of rules that apply to them. This would result in an even more complex workers' compensation system that would essentially be "disease by statute," which would ultimately burden injured workers seeking quick resolution to their claims.

AB 553 Workers’ compensation: return-to-work program. This bill would have required the Department of Industrial Relations to completely disburse $120 million annually from the Workers' Compensation Return to Work Fund to eligible injured workers. The veto message noted that the Return-to-Work Program began in 2015 and is relatively new. He was concerned this measure proposes sweeping revisions to the Return-to-Work program that are premature. 

AB 1697 Workers’ compensation fraud unit. This would have required the DIR  to establish an anti-fraud unit within the DWC. The veto message notes that the work required by this measure is already underway. 

AB 2496 Janitorial employees.The proposed law was a codification of the California Supreme Court new ABC test for an employment relationship in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (2018) 4 Cal.5th 903. The bill was vetoed because the Administration and the Legislature are still reviewing this decision and any statutory changes to such tests would be premature. 

SB 899 Workers’ compensation permanent disability apportionment. This measure seeks to preclude a physician from using race, gender, or national origin as a basis for apportionment. The Governor vetoed this bill for many of the same reasons that he returned a similar measure in 2011 - Assembly Bill 1155. This bill is unnecessary as it would not change existing law and may disturb settled court decisions, which already provide protection from the inappropriate application of the apportionment statutes. Read More...


Source: WorkCompAcademy.com

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