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N.J. governor vetoes workers comp bill for public safety employees

N.J. governor vetoes workers comp bill for public safety employees

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has vetoed legislation that would have guaranteed workers compensation benefits for public safety workers by presuming that several illnesses were linked to their jobs.

Under S.B. 1778, it would have been presumed that public safety worker injuries, disabilities or deaths that “may be caused” by exposure to carcinogens or radioactive substances resulted from their work.

It also would have established workers comp eligibility presumptions addressing to post-traumatic stress disorder and exposure to communicable diseases.

But in his veto message Thursday, Gov. Christie said the bill in some cases would apply to “disabilities not tethered to any work-related incident at all.” The governor also said that while the bill would affect state and municipal governments, its sponsors refused to obtain a fiscal analysis.

State Sen. Linda R. Greenstein, D-Middlesex, the bill's sponsor, said in a statement that she was “shocked and disappointed” that the bill was not signed into law.

“This legislation would have provided many of our first responders a sense of security that no matter what happens on the job, they will receive the workers compensation benefits they have earned and deserve,” she said in the statement.