Governor Newsom has vetoed his first workers’ comp bill, AB 346 (Cooper).
AB 346 would have expanded fully paid leaves of absence due to occupational injury to police officers employed by a school district, community college or county office of education. They would have been eligible for up to a year of Labor Code 4850 leave.
Under current law, no school police officers are eligible for 4850 benefits except the Los Angeles Unified School District police officers.
AB 346 passed out of the Assembly 75-0 and on a 39-0 vote out of the California Senate.
Labor and peace officer groups supported the bill, arguing that these police officers respond to school shootings and gun violence situations like others who enjoy 4850 wage protection.
Opposition came from groups such as the Association of California School Administrators, cities and counties, and CCWC, the employer-led California Coalition on Workers’ Compensation. They cited cost concerns and as noted in the Senate Floor Analysis, they argued that “Local agencies typically fund workers’ compensation costs out of their general fund, and every dollar spent on special enhanced benefits must come from somewhere.”
But overwhelming bipartisan legislative support did not translate into a win for this bill.
The bill’s opponents seem to have gotten their points across to the governor.
Here is what Newsom said in his veto message: