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Lawmakers in Utah are considering a bill that would create a special fund for cities and towns whose workers compensation costs increase as the result of catastrophic injuries suffered by firefighters engaged in fighting state wildfires.
Now in the House Rules Committee after being introduced Tuesday, H.B. 312 would establish the “Wildland Fire Response Workers' Compensation Liability Fund,” funded by state and federal appropriations, money recovered from investigations and lawsuits, interest, among other streams. It would allow municipalities to apply for grants to assist with costs related to catastrophic claims stemming from wildfires. Such claims would include those resulting in death, according to the bill, sponsored by Rep. Jeffrey Stenquist, R-Draper.
Per its language, the bill would require municipalities to apply for grants annually and would take into account “the amount of an increase in workers' compensation costs on the basis of the local government having a catastrophic workers' compensation claim; and the number of years the local government will experience an increase in workers' compensation insurance costs on the basis of the local government having a catastrophic workers' compensation claim.”
Ontario is extending the presumption for firefighters for entitlement to workers comp benefits to cervical, ovarian and penile cancers.