Workers Comp Zone


Governor Newsom vetoed two workers’ comp bills yesterday.

AB 334 (Mullin) would have created a skin cancer presumption for California Park and Recreation and Fish and Wildlife peace officers.

Here is Newsom’s veto message:

I am returning Assembly Bill 334 without my signature.

This bill would create a rebuttable presumption of industrial causation for skin cancer currently extended to active lifeguards under the workers’ compensation system to specified peace officers of the Department of Fish and Wildlife and Department of Parks and Recreation.

A presumption is not required for an occupational disease to be compensable. Such presumptions should be provided sparingly and should be based on the unique hazards or proven difficulty of establishing a direct relationship between a disease or injury and the employee’s work. Although well-intentioned, the need for the presumption envisioned by this bill is not supported by clear and compelling evidence.

SB 284 (Stern) would have extended a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) presumption to additional first responders for injuries after January 1, 2023. Notably, the existing statute which covers PTSD for many first responders will sunset on January 1, 2025.

Here is Newsom’s veto message:

I am returning Senate Bill 284 without my signature.

This bill would expand the existing rebuttable presumption for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) injury to additional classes of active firefighting members and peace officers, and adds public safety dispatchers, public safety telecom and emergency response communication employees.

Current law, applicable for injuries occurring on or after 2020 and to be repealed on l /1 /2025, allows a rebuttable presumption of PTSD injury to apply for specified classes of active firefighting members, peace officers, and fire and rescue service coordinators who work for the Office of Emergency Services. Thispresumption is a carefu l step acknowledging the increasingly hazardous conditions to which the subject class members are exposed, balanced against the principles of workers’ compensation law that dictates conservatism with respect to presumptions and psychiatric injuries. As such, it was intended to allow for the study of the benefits and effectiveness of the PTSD presumption.

Expanding coverage of the PTSD injury presumption to significant classes of employees before any studies have been conducted on the existing class for whom the presumption is temporarily in place could set a dangerous precedent that has the potential to destabilize the workers’ compensation system going forward , as stakeholders push for similarly unsubstantiated presumptions.

In the coming week I’l recap the bills that did get signed by Newsom this year.

Meanwhile, you can check out my recent post on workers’ comp bills that failed this year:

Stay tuned.

Julius Young