In the midst of an action packed lame duck session the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 27. The bill sponsored by Senator Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) originally provided that a firefighter who is disabled as a result of specified types of cancer is presumed to have incurred the cancer while performing his or her job duties, thus creating eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. After opposition from the OMA and local government groups, the bill was improved in the House.
The bill cleared the final hurdles of the legislative process. It now creates the presumption that a firefighter is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if he or she contracts cancer and has been exposed in the line of duty to an agent classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a Group 1 or 2A carcinogen. In order to qualify the firefighter must have been assigned to at least six years of hazardous duty, among other terms.
While the bill (see analysis) still creates a new allowance in workers’ compensation law, OMA and its allies were successful in scaling back the precedent. 12/8/2016