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Workers’ Comp Legislation Advances to Fiscal Committee for Aug. 12 Hearing

July 8, 2013
On June 26 the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee passed League-opposed AB 1373 (Pérez) on a 4–0 vote.
Assembly Speaker John Pérez’s (D-Los Angeles) bill extends the statute of limitations from 240 weeks to 480 weeks for presumptive death benefit claims for cancer, tuberculosis, or MRSA to be filed on behalf of a firefighter or peace officer. This bill is similar to last year’s AB 2451 (Pérez), which Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed.       
Public safety officers should be fairly compensated for injuries occurring on the job.  Sufficient data, however, is lacking to support extending the statute of limitations on this benefit. Concerns remain regarding the serious fiscal implications AB 1373 could have on local governments. The Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee analysis indicates that the city of Torrance places the cost of complying with the bill at more than $25 million annually. Such added costs could significantly impact cities as well as local public safety employees — both current and retired. 
AB 1373 is a bit premature given the lack of data to support such a dramatic expansion of the law. The results from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health study on this issue are not yet complete. Gov. Brown said it best in his AB 2451 veto message when he wrote that data from studying firefighter-related disease and death risks “will provide a basis to make a more informed policy and research based decision on this question in the future.” 
For more information, please see “Despite League Opposition Labor-Sponsored Bills Continue to Move in Legislature,” CA Cities Advocate, May 2, 2013.
Take Action
AB 1373 is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, Aug. 12. This is its final stop before being sent to the Senate floor. The League strongly encourages city officials submit opposition letters or call the following Senate Appropriations Committee members to urge their “no” vote:
Senator Contact Phone
Kevin de Leon (Chair) (916) 651-4022
Mimi Walters (Vice Chair) (916) 651-4037
Ted Gaines (916) 651-4001
Jerry Hill (916) 651-4013
Ricardo Lara (916) 651-4033
Alex Padilla (916) 651-4020
President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (916) 651-4006
AB 1373 bill text and opposition letters are available online.

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