January 29, 2013
Re: A-1196 Amended on the Assembly Floor (Sample
Resolution Opposing A-1196 on Rebuttable Presumption)
The League opposes A-1196 (Stender, Egan, O’Donnell) , which creates a rebuttable presumption of workers’ compensation coverage for any death or disability , because of its potential to raise costs for municipalities. The bill was scheduled for an Assembly vote yesterday but was amended instead on the floor and can again be scheduled at an upcoming Assembly voting session.
If adopted, this bill will prove to be very expensive for municipalities and other levels of government. The Municipal Excess Liability Fund’s actuary estimated that this legislation could easily double municipal workers’ compensations per year.
While we agree that public safety employees and volunteers, including police officers, firefighters and members of ambulance squads should be adequately compensated, New Jersey’s current law is already one of the broadest in the country. A-1196, as written will make it almost impossible to contest claims that have nothing to do with injuries and illnesses caused on-the-job.
For example, under this bill any current or former public safety employee, career or volunteer, with five years experience who is diagnosed with cancer is eligible for workers’ compensation. This bill places the burden of proof on the municipality, county or state to show that the cancer was not caused by an on-the-job exposure. As a practical matter, this is almost impossible.
Finally, the Legislature has a duty to complete a fiscal impact study before proceeding with this legislation and this hasn’t been done. There is more than sufficient scientific evidence to project the number of cases and the costs.
This legislation as currently written will cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions each year for claims that have no connection to in-service exposures.
We urge you to adopt the attached resolution, forward copies to your local Assembly representatives, Senator and League. In addition, please contact your Assembly delegation and let them know you oppose this legislation. See the Sample Resolution opposing this legislation :
PDF - http://www.njslom.org/resolutions/1-29-13-A1196.pdf
WORD - http://www.njslom.org/resolutions/1-29-13-A1196.doc
For more information, please see our Dear Mayors Letter of January 25. Please direct any questions or concerns to Staff Attorney Matthew Weng at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax at 609-695-5156.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.