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The Texas House of Representatives passed legislation on Friday that would make it easier for nurses in the state to obtain workers compensation for acquiring COVID-19.
H.B. 396, which passed in a 116-24 vote, would create a rebuttable presumption of compensability for nurses in the state who have been disabled or died from COVID-19 on or after Feb. 1, 2020. To qualify for the presumption, a nurse must have been assigned to treat individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 or perform duties that put them in close contact with patients with the disease and was diagnosed with the virus no later than 14 days after making contact with the patients. Nurses who declined or refused to receive preventive immunization against the disease would not be eligible for the presumption unless they were medically precluded from receiving the vaccine.
The bill has been sent to the Senate for consideration. If passed by two-thirds of the Senate, the legislation will take effect immediately. If it passes by less than two-thirds and is signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott, the bill will take effect Sept. 1, 2021.
Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., this week announced federal legislation that would create a presumption that certain diseases resulting in disability or death arose out of and in the course of employment.