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AB-932 Workers’ compensation: off-duty firefighters.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 02/20/2019 09:00 PM
AB932:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 932


Introduced by Assembly Member Low
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Petrie-Norris)

February 20, 2019


An act to amend Sections 3600.1 and 3600.4 of the Labor Code, relating to workers’ compensation.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 932, as introduced, Low. Workers’ compensation: off-duty firefighters.
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 employment. Existing law grants workers’ compensation benefits to a firefighter, or the firefighter’s dependents, if the firefighter is injured, dies, or is disabled by proceeding to or engaging in a fire-suppression or rescue operation, or the protection of life or property, anywhere in California, but is not acting under the immediate supervision of the employer.
This bill would expand the scope of this provision to apply when a firefighter engages in a fire-suppression or rescue operation, or the protection or preservation of life or property, outside of this state.
Existing law specifies the time periods within which various workers’ compensation proceedings may be commenced for the collection of benefits, including one year from the date of injury.
This bill would provide that for claims filed by firefighters for injuries sustained during the October 1, 2017, mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, the date of injury would be January 1, 2020.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(a) Firefighters agree to be “on duty 24/7” and are not like regular employees whose duties cease at the end of a scheduled shift.
(b) With the privilege of being the protectors of the public, firefighters, in dedication to their sworn public oath, accept their sworn obligation regardless of whether they are at the firehouse or on their “own time.”
(c) For firefighters, it is instinctual not to run, but to stay and help, which is why they stood alongside their fellow public safety partners in law enforcement during the horrific active shooter event that occurred in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 1, 2017.
(d) Many California firefighters responded and rendered assistance during that tragic night despite being on their own time. These firefighters carried out their sworn duty to protect life and property by rendering aid and assisting injured concertgoers, many of whom reside in California.
(e) Several California firefighters themselves suffered injuries as they triaged victims and moved in and out of the hot zone. In all, 15 off-duty firefighters were shot, 13 of whom hail from California. Two of the California firefighters were hit by gunfire while performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), one in the right arm, the other in the foot.
(f) The fire departments with multiple shooting victims were Los Angeles City with four and Los Angeles County with three, while the following fire departments each had a single member wounded: the city fire departments of Encinitas, Glendale, San Diego, and Torrance, and the county fire department of San Bernadino.
(g) It is, therefore, the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation recognizing that California has a responsibility to ensure that its firefighters are not denied access to workers’ compensation safeguards in instances when they are injured after selflessly placing themselves in harm’s way in the protection or preservation of life or property, regardless of whether the injury occurs within or outside of this state.

SEC. 2.

 Section 3600.1 of the Labor Code is amended to read:

3600.1.
 (a) Whenever any If a firefighter of the state, as defined in Section 19886 of the Government Code, is injured, dies, or is disabled from performing his or her duties as a firefighter by reason of his or her while proceeding to or engaging in a fire-suppression or rescue operation, or in the course of the protection or preservation of life or property, anywhere in within or outside of this state, including the jurisdiction in which he or she the firefighter is employed, but is not at the time acting under the immediate direction of his or her their employer, he or she or his or her dependents, as the case may be, the firefighter or the firefighter’s dependents shall be accorded by his or her employer the employing entity all of the same benefits of this division that he, she, or they the firefighter or the firefighter’s dependents would have received had that the firefighter been acting under the immediate direction of his or her the firefighter’s employer. Any An injury, disability, or death incurred under the circumstances described in this section shall be deemed to have arisen out of, and been sustained in, the course of employment for purposes of workers’ compensation and all other benefits.
(b) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to do either of the following:
(1) Require the extension of any benefits to a firefighter who, at the time of his or her the firefighter’s injury, death, or disability, is acting for compensation from one an entity other than the state.
(2) Require the extension of any benefits to a firefighter employed by the state where when by departmental regulation, whether now in force or hereafter enacted or promulgated, the activity giving rise to the injury, disability, or death is expressly prohibited.
(c) If the provisions of this section are is in conflict with the provisions of a memorandum of understanding reached pursuant to Section 3517.5 of the Government Code, the memorandum of understanding shall be controlling without further legislative action, except that action. However, if the provisions of a memorandum of understanding require the expenditure of funds, the provisions shall not become effective unless approved by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act.
(d) For claims filed pursuant to this section by firefighters for injuries sustained during the October 1, 2017, mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, the date of injury for purposes of subdivision (a) of Section 5405 is January 1, 2020.

SEC. 3.

 Section 3600.4 of the Labor Code is amended to read:

3600.4.
 (a) Whenever any If a firefighter of a city, county, city and county, district, or other public or municipal corporation or political subdivision, or any firefighter employed by a private entity, is injured, dies, or is disabled from performing his or her duties as a firefighter by reason of his or her while proceeding to or engaging in a fire suppression or rescue operation, or in the course of the protection or preservation of life or property, anywhere in within or outside of this state, including the local jurisdiction in which he or she the firefighter is employed, but is not at the time acting under the immediate direction of his or her their employer, he or she or his or her dependents, as the case may be, the firefighter or the firefighter’s dependents shall be accorded by his or her employer the employing entity all of the same benefits of this division which he or she or they that the firefighter or the firefighter’s dependents would have received had that the firefighter been acting under the immediate direction of his or her the firefighter’s employer. Any An injury, disability, or death incurred under the circumstances described in this section shall be deemed to have arisen out of and been sustained in the course of employment for purposes of workers’ compensation and all other benefits.
(b) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to:
(1) Require the extension of any benefits to a firefighter who at the time of his or her injury, death, or disability is acting for compensation from one an entity other than the city, county, city and county, district, or other public or municipal corporation or political subdivision, or private entity, of his or her the firefighter’s primary employment or enrollment.
(2) Require the extension of any benefits to a firefighter employed by a city, county, city and county, district, or other public or municipal corporation or political subdivision, or private entity, which by charter, ordinance, departmental regulation, or private employer policy, whether now in force or hereafter enacted or promulgated, expressly prohibits the activity giving rise to the injury, disability, or death. However, this paragraph shall does not apply to relieve the employer from liability for benefits for any injury, disability, or death of a firefighter when the firefighter is acting pursuant to Section 1799.107 of the Health and Safety Code.
(c) For claims filed pursuant to this section by a firefighter employed by a public entity, for injuries sustained during the October 1, 2017, mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, the date of injury for purposes of subdivision (a) of Section 5405 is January 1, 2020.