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AB-2577 Workers’ Compensation: respiratory illness: presumption.(2015-2016)

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Assembly Bill
No. 2577

Introduced by Assembly Member Chu

February 19, 2016

An act to add Section 3212.13 to the Labor Code, relating to workers’ compensation.


AB 2577, as introduced, Chu. Workers’ Compensation: respiratory illness: presumption.
Existing law establishes a workers’ compensation system, administered by the Administrative Director of the Division of Workers’ Compensation, to compensate an employee for injuries sustained in the course of his or her employment. Existing law provides that in the case of active firefighting members of certain fire departments and in the case of certain peace officers, a compensable injury includes cancer that develops or manifests itself during the period when the firefighter or peace officer demonstrates that he or she was exposed while in the service of the public agency to a known carcinogen, as defined. Existing law establishes a presumption that the cancer in these cases arose out of, and in the course of, employment, unless the presumption is controverted, as specified.
This bill would provide that in the case of specified active firefighting members, peace officers, and others, a respiratory illness or disease, including, among other things, occupational asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is presumed to arise out of and in the course of employment, unless the presumption is controverted, as specified.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


 Section 3212.13 is added to the Labor Code, to read:

 (a) This section applies to all of the following:
(1) Active firefighting members, whether volunteers, partly paid, or fully paid, of all of the following fire departments:
(A) A fire department of a city, county, city and county, district, or other public, private, or municipal corporation or political subdivision.
(B) A fire department of the University of California and the California State University.
(C) The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
(D) A county forestry or firefighting department or unit.
(2) Active firefighting members of a fire department that serves a United States Department of Defense installation and who are certified by the Department of Defense as meeting its standards for firefighters.
(3) Active firefighting members of a fire department that serves a National Aeronautics and Space Administration installation and who adhere to training standards established in accordance with Article 4 (commencing with Section 13155) of Chapter 1 of Part 2 of Division 12 of the Health and Safety Code.
(4) Peace officers, as defined in Section 830.1, subdivision (a) of Section 830.2, and subdivisions (a) and (b) of Section 830.37, of the Penal Code, who are primarily engaged in active law enforcement activities.
(5) (A) Fire and rescue services coordinators who work for the Office of Emergency Services.
(B) For purposes of this paragraph, “fire and rescue services coordinators” means coordinators with any of the following job classifications: coordinator, senior coordinator, or chief coordinator.
(b) The term “injury” as used in this section includes respiratory illnesses or diseases, including, but not limited to, occupational asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, asbestos-related lung diseases, and any other lung-related illnesses and diseases caused by inhalation exposure from employment activities.
(c) The compensation that is awarded for respiratory illnesses or diseases shall include full hospital, surgical, medical treatment, disability indemnity, and death benefits, as provided by this division.
(d) The respiratory illness or disease so developing or manifesting itself in these cases shall be presumed to arise out of and in the course of the employment. This presumption is disputable and may be controverted by evidence that the primary cause of the respiratory illness or disease has been established and that the contaminant to which the member has demonstrated exposure is not reasonably linked to the respiratory illness or disease. Unless so controverted, the appeals board is bound to find in accordance with the presumption. This presumption shall be extended to a member following termination of service for a period of three calendar months for each full year of the requisite service, but not to exceed 120 months in any circumstance, commencing with the last date actually worked in the specified capacity.
(e) This section shall be applied to claims for benefits filed or pending on or after January 1, 2014, including, but not limited to, claims for benefits filed on or after that date that have previously been denied, or that are being appealed following denial.
(f) This section shall be known, and may be cited, as the Firefighter’s Lung Presumption Act of 2016.