On September 23 Governor Brown signed four workers’ comp bills but vetoed five other comp-related bills.
The bills signed by Brown were ones that it was widely expected he would sign. Those bills (for which I’ve included descriptions from the legislative analyses and links to the legislative website) are as follows:
• AB 1749 (Daly) (Clarifies that certain peace officers injured out of state while performing defined law enforcement duties are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, in the discretion of the employing agency)
• AB 2046 (Daly) (Requires data sharing between governmental agencies involved in combatting workers’ compensation fraud, and grants the Fraud Assessment Commission (FAC) discretion to augment an assessment with unused funds from a prior year’s assessment)
• SB 880 (Pan) (Permits employers to conduct a pilot program on transmitting disability indemnity benefits by a prepaid card, rather than a paper check)
•SB 1086 (Atkins) (Deletes the sunset clause on a law that provides an extended statute of limitations for workers’ compensation death benefits payable to the survivors of public safety officers who die as a result of work-related cancer or other specified diseases)
But Brown exercised an active veto pen in 2018. Some of the vetoes were predictable while others are mild surprises. Here the vetoed bills are, along with links to the veto messages on each:
• AB 479 (Gonzalez Fletcher) (bill would have specified rating criteria in cases of industrial breast cancer)
Brown’s veto of this bill calls for a study to be done by 2020, and interestingly requests that among various things the study look at differences as to how the AMA Guides 5th edition (currently used in California) and the 6th edition (used in a few states) would handle the issue.
The veto message on AB 479 is here:
• AB 553 (Daly) (bill would have required that all of the $120 million RTW fund be paid out each year)
The veto message on AB 553 is here:
• AB 1697 (Daly) (bill to codify certain requirements for an anti-fraud analytics unit at the DWC)
Brown’s veto message on AB 1697 is here:
• AB 2496 (Gonzalez Fletcher) (bill that would have specified employment test for janitorial workers, creating a rebuttable presumption that a worker in the janitorial field is an employee, and therefore is due the same protections and privileges as other employees)
The Brown veto message on AB 2496 is here:
• SB 899 (Pan) (bill would have excluded race, gender and national origin as apportionable factors)
Brown’s veto message on SB 899 is here:
Many of these vetoed bills are likely to be back in 2019 as an early test of the next governor’s take on workers’ compensation in California. Legislative debate over an employment test for gig economy workers is likely to be especially active in 2019.
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