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North Dakota first responder comp expansion signed into law


A North Dakota bill aimed at enhancing workers compensation eligibility for firefighters and law enforcement officers was signed into law Monday by Gov. Doug Burgum.

The measure, House Bill 1279, revises current comp law by adding a new list of diseases and illnesses qualifying as presumptive work injuries for first responders, and it recognizes years of out-of-state service for firefighters with presumptive injuries.

Previously, firefighters must have worked in such a role in the state for at least five years to qualify for a presumptive comp injury. While the five-year duration remains in effect as a requirement, it will now recognize the years of firefighting service in other states.

The new law provides comp coverage for heart attacks, strokes, vascular rupture or similar cardiac events occurring within 48 hours after full-time firefighters or police officers engage in a strenuous, job-related activity.

The bill had passed both chambers unanimously. It contains a retroactive clause to cover the cases of a police officer and two firefighters who were previously denied coverage due to the length-of-service requirement, according to the governor’s office.