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Published on Friday, January 12, 2018

First responder presumptive disease bills to be heard in the House and Senate

On Monday, January 15 at 1:30 pm, House and Senate committees will hear three bills seeking to expand presumptive occupational disease for police and fire personnel.

HB 2633, sponsored by Rep. Beth Doglio (D-Olympia), expands presumptive disease coverage to fire investigators and adds the following new diseases:

  • Strokes for fire personnel, if experienced within seventy-two hours of exposure to smoke, fumes, or toxic substances, or experienced within twenty-four hours of strenuous physical exertion in the line of duty.
  • Heart problems and strokes for law enforcement officers, experienced within seventy-two hours of exposure to smoke, fumes, or toxic substances, or experienced within twenty-four hours of strenuous physical exertion in the line of duty. Heart problems are already covered for fire personnel.
  • Five infectious diseases for law enforcement and fire investigators including HIV, hepatitis, meningococcal meningitis, mycobacterium tuberculosis, and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA has been added for firefighters who were already covered for the other infectious diseases.
  • Nine additional cancers for firefighters and investigators including mesothelioma, adenocarcinoma, stomach cancer, esophageal cancer, buccal cancer, pharynx cancer, nonmelanoma skin cancer, breast cancer, and cervical cancer.

HB 2633 will be heard in the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee. Its companion SB 6213, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Island), will be heard in the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee.

SB 6214, sponsored by Sen. Steve Conway (D-South Tacoma), creates a prima facie presumption for classifying post-traumatic stress disorder as an occupational disease for officers and firefighters. It will be heard along with HB 2633 in the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee.

AWC does not support this costly expansion of occupational disease presumption.

Contacts: Logan Bahr or Shannon McClelland.

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