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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.
The bill would have an indeterminate cost to the state to provide workers compensation benefits to certain state employees on the presumption of those employees having contracted SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 during the course and scope of employment. The provisions of the bill would also apply to previously denied claims from impacted employees related to SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19. The fiscal implications of the bill cannot be determined due to the inability to determine resubmission and subsequent approval of previously denied claims and in determining the future number of claims that may occur over from COVID-19.
SB 22 would create a rebuttable presumption that when a detention officer, corrections employee, peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical technician meeting certain conditions contracts SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 which results in their death or total or partial disability, they contracted the disease during the course and scope of their employment.
First responders and other frontline public employees provide a valuable service to their fellow Texans. Still, medical evidence rather than presumption, should guide the determination as to how a person contracted a disease during a declared disaster. For these reasons, we oppose SB 22.