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Relating to certain claims for benefits, compensation, or assistance by certain public safety employees and survivors of certain public safety employees.
Passage of the bill would require the approval of workers' compensation claims related to SARSCoV2 or COVID19 that is the basis for a disaster declared by the Governor for detention officers, corrections employees, firefighters, peace officers, or EMTs. It is unknown how many of these employees with previously denied claims would refile their claims or how many new claims would be filed in the future. Therefore, the fiscal impact of the bill cannot be determined.
HB 541 stipulates that if a public safety employee contracts SARSCoV2 or COVID-19 under certain circumstances, resulting in the employee's death or total or partial disability, the employee is presumed to have contracted the virus or disease during the course and scope of employment for workers' compensation purposes.
As filed, HB 541 was an overly broad bill that presumed any death or disability a public safety employee suffered as a result of SARS-CoV-2 or Covid-19 happened on the job. The committee substitute narrowed the original language, and Texas Action is therefore neutral on HB 541.