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States expanding first responder protections

First responders

Several states have introduced or recently passed bills expanding workers compensation protections to first responders.

On Thursday, North Carolina lawmakers introduced a bill that would require workers comp to cover post-traumatic stress disorder for first responders, while Maryland lawmakers passed legislation expanding cancer coverage for those workers.

North Carolina’s H.B. 622, introduced by Rep. Holly Grange, R-New Hanover, would entitle law enforcement officers, first responders and emergency management personnel to workers comp benefits for mental or nervous injuries — regardless of whether they are accompanied by physical injuries — under specific circumstances. If passed, the legislation would become effective July 1, 2019.

Maryland’s S.B. 646, which unanimously passed the Maryland General Assembly on Thursday, would expand the medical presumptions for diseases and cancers suffered by firefighters to include leukemia or prostate, rectal, throat, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, brain, testicular or breast cancer that is presumed to be caused by contact with a toxic substance encountered in the line of duty. The bill, introduced by Sen. Katherine Klausmeier, D-Baltimore County, passed the state’s Senate in late March and now moves to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk. If signed, it will take effect Oct. 1, 2019.

Indiana’s Senate passed legislation March 19 to expand protections for volunteer firefighters and increase the maximum amount of burial expenses that must be paid under the state’s workers compensation for an employee who dies from an injury by accident arising out of employment from $7,500 to $10,000. The bill, which also already passed the state’s House of Representatives, is now moving to the governor’s office.





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