We’re in the 2018 legislative home stretch, as the session will end in the next couple days.
As of late yesterday many of the workers’ comp bills were still awaiting final action, although several had already made it to Governor Brown’s desk.
Interestingly, AB 2496 (Gonzalez Fletcher) had made it to the Governor’s desk but on August 24 was “returned to the Governor at the request of the Assembly”. I did a recent post on this bill, noting the major tussle in the Capitol over the employment standard under the Dynamex case:
As of the time of this post it is not clear what will happen with AB 2496, a bill which appears to codify the Dynamex standard for janitorial employees. Opponents of Dynamex continue to make a last minute push in the Capitol, and AB 2496 appears to be caught up in discussions on that issue.
Bills that have passed both houses of the legislature and are awaiting action by the Governor are:
• AB 479 (Gonzalez Fletcher) which would codify rating requirements in breast cancer cases and provide that being of child bearing age is not a factor for apportionment. Although Governor Brown vetoed two prior breast cancer bills, this year’s bill takes a different approach and passed both the California Assembly and California Senate with no opposition.
• SB 899 (Pan), a bill which originally was designed to reject genetic apportionment but which was watered down after amendments. The California Senate analysis notes that
“This bill explicitly excludes race, gender, and national origin as apportionable factors. Assembly Amendments remove references to the recent City of Jackson court decision and explicitly prohibit the use of race, gender, and national original as a basis of apportionment.”
• AB 2046 (Daly) This bill went to the Governor on August 27. This bill requires the government agencies with information about fraud to share with other agencies and also addresses carry over of unused fraud fighting funds.
• SB 880 (Pan) According to the Senate Floor analysis:
“This bill permits the employers to conduct a pilot program on transmitting disability indemnity benefits by a prepaid card, rather than a paper check.
Assembly Amendments expand the number of participants in the pilot program from State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF) to all employers (see below for note), and also expand the benefits which may be delivered by a prepaid card from just temporary disability indemnity benefits to all disability indemnity benefits.”
As of yesterday bills awaiting further action in the legislature included the following:
• AB 1749 (Daly) This bill passed the Senate on a 39 to 0 vote on August 27 but has been awaiting final Assembly action. The bill, prompted by the Las Vegas massacre, is a watered down bill addressing coverage for peace officers injured in out of state incidents.
• AB 553 (Daly) This bill passed the California Senate with an August 27 floor vote (largely along party lines, with 26 ayes, 12 noes and 2 votes not recorded). According to the recent Assembly floor analysis the bill “ensures that the full, annual $120 million in the Return to Work (RTW) Fund is expended every year.”
The analysis by Mark Rakich notes that:
“The Senate amendments:
- 1) Eliminate the obligation of eligible injured workers to apply for RTW Fund payments, and instead require an employer to notify the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) when the eligibility trigger – delivery of the supplemental job displacement benefit voucher – has occurred.
- 2) Eliminate the initial payment of $5000 to eligible injured workers, and instead require DIR to annually distribute a pro rata share of the entire $120 million to each of the qualified injured workers that have been identified by employers.”
• SB 1086 (Atkins) This bill passed a Senate vote 39 to 0 in late May and an Assembly Appropriations vote on August 16 on a unanimous vote. It extends a provision that allows public safety workers to file death claims within 420 days. Otherwise, that provision would sunset next year.
• AB 2334 (Thurmond) This includes a provision that allows the release of certain self-insured data
• AB 1751 , 1752 and 1753 (Low) These would mandate changes to the CURES database system
By the time some readers see this post there may have been further action by the Governor or the legislature, so stay tuned.
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