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Tracking more than 500 pieces of comp-related legislation so far in 2020, the National Council for Compensation Insurance on Wednesday reported that this year’s “legislative trends and hot topics look very similar to 2019,” with workers compensation for first responders, medical marijuana and independent contractors remaining key issues.
Bills affecting workers compensation for first responders are making headway among lawmakers, with 92 introduced so far this year and 36 of them addressing mental injuries, according to the Boca Raton, Florida-based ratings agency. In 2019 nine states passed legislation addressing workers compensation coverage for first responders with mental-only injuries, and one state passed a bill to study the issue, according to NCCI’s Insights report.
Medical marijuana in workers compensation is also trending, with 22 states introducing legislation this year. Only one state — Kentucky — is addressing the issue of reimbursement for medical marijuana in workers compensation, according to the report. In 2019, Rhode Island passed legislation that does not prohibit reimbursement but does not require it either.
Independent contractors are another comp-related issue, seeing legislation in 10 states so far, including California, Illinois, Missouri, New York and Virginia, NCCI reports. In 2019 California passed A.B. 5, which adopted a three-part test for determining whether workers are employees or independent contractors, and Arkansas enacted legislation that codified a 20-factor test from an IRS ruling to determine whether workers are employees or independent contractors.