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League-Opposed AB 2451 Seeks to Expand Public Safety Death Benefits

August 14, 2012

Despite discussions with the author’s staff and sponsors over the last several months, the League remains opposed to AB 2451 (Pérez) because it would dramatically increase workers’ compensation costs for local governments by removing the four-and-a-half year statute of limitations for presumptive death benefit claims for firefighters and peace officers.

 

Under current law, death benefit claims must be made within four-and-a-half years of a death or job-related injury with the exception of HIV/AIDS or asbestos-related illness. AB 2451 would allow beneficiaries to file a death benefits claim at any time up to one year after the date of death without regard for the time between the employee’s exposure to and presumable death from heart disease, cancer, tuberculosis or blood borne pathogens. Employers would see a significant increase in cost for death benefits for injuries that may not be job related, but because these are presumptive injuries it would be nearly impossible for the employer to refute the claim.

Death benefits are designed to provide protections against financial hardships when a public safety officer dies due to a job-related illness, this bill goes far beyond that purpose. The liability to local government budgets is enormous.

The Sacramento Bee recently published two critical editorials on AB 2451:

The California Association of Counties (CSAC), the Regional Council of Rural Counties (RCRC) the California Special Districts Association (CSDA) and the Association of California Healthcare Districts are also opposed to AB 2451.

City officials are strongly encouraged to send opposition letters immediately. The League’s opposition letter and a sample letter can be accessed on the League’s website by typing “AB 2451” into the search box.



 
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