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First responder cancer presumption bill sent to governor

first responders

The Arizona House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill intended to make it easier for first responders to invoke the presumption that cancer is an occupational disease.

The House voted 51-7 to pass S.B. 1451. The Senate voted 22-8 to pass the bill on Feb. 18, meaning the measure can now be presented to Gov. Doug Ducey.

The bill would eliminate the requirement that firefighters or peace officers be exposed to a known carcinogen reasonably related to the claimed cancer for the presumption to apply.

The bill would also increase the evidentiary standard needed to rebut the presumption to clear and convincing evidence from a preponderance of the evidence. Employers would also be required to prove that a peace officer or firefighter contracted cancer from a specific cause outside of work to rebut the presumption.

The bill would extend presumptive cancer coverage to fire investigators as well as firefighters. And it would allow insurers covering firefighters and fire investigators to increase rates by filing one uniform percentage deviation from statewide standard rates to address projected loss and expense increases from the presumptive claims.

The governor will have five days to act on the bill if he receives it while lawmakers are still in session, and 10 days to act if he receives it after lawmakers adjourn the 2021 session. The governor can sign the bill, veto it or allow the measure to become law without his signature.

The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn no later than April 24.

WorkCompCentral is a sister publication of Business Insurance. More stories here.





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