Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: The Labor and Public Employees Committee Begins to Speak
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At its February 28, 2023 meeting, the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee began the process of approving bills.  The following is a brief summary of the bills that the Committee voted favorably on and advanced out of committee for further consideration.   

S.B. No. 913: An Act Expanding Workers' Compensation Coverage for Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries for All Employees.  This bill would expand workers' compensation benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder for witnessing certain traumatic events (e.g., certain deaths or maimings) to include all employees as of January 1, 2024; this benefit is currently limited to certain first responders.

S.B. No. 937: An Act Providing Workers' Compensation Benefits For Certain Cancers In Firefighters.  This bill would establish a rebuttable presumption that for purposes of determining eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits, a firefighter's diagnosis of cancer arises out of and in the course of employment as the result of exposures particular to the  duties performed as a firefighter for any condition of cancer affecting  the brain, skin, skeletal system, digestive system, endocrine system, respiratory system, lymphatic system, reproductive system, urinary system or hematological system that results in death, or temporary or permanent total or partial disability.  The bill sets forth that this presumption shall only be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence of any of the following: 1) The firefighter had a physical examination upon entry into such service, or subsequent to entry, that revealed evidence of the claimed cancer; 2) the firefighter has failed to submit to annual physical  examinations subsequent to entry into such service or that subsequent  physical examinations have revealed evidence of such cancer or a  propensity for such cancer; 3) such firefighter has used cigarettes, or any other tobacco products within 15 years of the diagnosis of the claimed cancer; 4) at the time of diagnosis, such firefighter has worked less than at least five years as a) an interior structural firefighter at a municipal, state or volunteer fire department, or b) a local fire marshal, deputy fire marshal, fire investigator, fire inspector, at the time such cancer is discovered, or should have been discovered; 5) the firefighter failed to use respiratory protection and other personal  protective equipment in the course of employment; or 6) the claimed cancer is not one that is known to result from exposure to heat, radiation  or a known carcinogen. The bill also provides that any individual who is no longer actively employed or serving as a firefighter and who would otherwise qualify for these benefits may apply for such benefits not later than five years after the date such individual was employed or last served as a firefighter.

S.B. No. 1035: An Act Concerning Stop Work Orders. This bill would expand the ability of the Connecticut Department of Labor to issue stop work orders to include violations of the prevailing wage laws; the bill would also increase fines for violations of stop work orders.

H.B. No. 6549: An Act Concerning Modification of and Repealing Obsolete Provisions and Statutes Relevant to the Labor Department. As the title suggests, this bill would repeal obsolete provisions and statutes relevant to the Labor Department

H.B. No. 6720: An Act Concerning The State Managerial Employee Definition For Purposes Of Collective Bargaining. The bill would amend the definition of managerial employees under the State Employee Relations Act so as to allow state managerial employees to participate in collective bargaining.

H.B. No. 6721 An Act Concerning Workers Compensation And Portal-To-Portal Coverage For Telecommunicators. This bill would expand portal to portal coverage under the Workers’ Compensation Act (currently available for police officers and firefighters) so as to cover telecommunicators.

The deadline for the Labor and Public Employees Committee to approve bills and advance them out of committee is March 21, 2023.  Bills affecting labor and employment issues may also emerge from other committees (such as the Judiciary Committee and the Planning and Development Committee).  The 2023 regular session of the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on June 7, 2023, so stay tuned to see if any of these bills are eventually enacted.

Please contact any of Pullman & Comley's Labor and Employment Law attorneys if you have any questions.

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