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Lawmakers Question Need Prior to Passing Bill to Expand Presumptions


The California Senate committee voted to pass a bill that would give probation workers and anyone else working as a peace officer a presumption that certain conditions are compensable, despite members questioning the need for the measure.

California law presumes heart disease, hernias, pneumonia, cancer, meningitis, tuberculosis and bio-chemical illnesses arise out of and in the course of employment for police officers, deputies and state troopers. Employers can rebut the presumption if they can prove a claimed condition arose outside of work.

SB 416 would make the presumption applicable to anyone who satisfies the Penal Code definition of “peace officer.” The effect would be to extend the presumption to sworn officers of school districts and universities, probation officers, some Department of Fish and Wildlife employees, people working for the Department of Motor Vehicles, and coroners.

There are a lot of misconceptions about what “presumption” is and does. For non-Claims people: it’s a legal construct that shifts the burden of proof from one party to the other – not an entitlement to benefits.

The expansion of the presumptions to school safety officers would have an impact on our districts (some more so than others, of course), and even more so if the proposed expansion of L.C. 4850 benefits to school safety offices were to come to pass as well (AB 346).

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