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Workers’ Comp Legislative Trends, Accomplishments, and Challenges Ahead

By Vanessa Gonzales posted 06-13-2022 02:37 PM

workers comp claim form

As employers of tens of thousands of Californians, stability and affordability in the workers’ compensation system is of significant importance to CSDA’s member districts. Therefore, CSDA is actively engaged with workers’ compensation legislation. CSDA’s participation in coalitions like the California Coalition on Workers’ Compensation (CCWC) enhances special districts’ effectiveness in impacting such legislation and educating policymakers.


Recently, CSDA participated in the CCWC Annual Conference in Anaheim. The conference serves as a legislative and educational forum for stakeholders in the workers’ compensation community. The conference highlighted recent legislative accomplishments and challenges in the workers’ compensation arena, as well as trends.


Recent Accomplishments:

SB 1458 (Limón): Workers’ compensation: disability benefits: gender disparity. This bill would have used workers’ compensation disability payments as a means of addressing gender pay disparities. Because the workers’ compensation system is not the appropriate mechanism to address the broader issue of gender pay equity, and due to other concerns with the bill, CSDA joined the coalition opposing the bill. SB 1458 was held in the Senate Appropriations Committee and did not advance to the Senate floor.


SB 335 (Cortese): Workers’ compensation: liability. This bill would have shortened claim investigation timelines. CSDA joined the coalition opposing the bill. The bill did not advance out of the Assembly Committee on Insurance.


AB 1465 (Reyes): Workers’ compensation: medical provider networks study. This bill would have created a state-run Medical Provider Network. Because this would reduce the quality of medical care in California’s workers’ compensation system, and increase costs, CSDA joined the coalition opposing the bill. This bill was amended into a study bill, allowing CSDA to change its position to neutral.


Presumption Challenges Remain: 

SB 1127 (Atkins): Workers’ compensation: liability presumptions. This bill would significantly shorten claims investigation times, increase certain disability payment timeframes, and increase penalties for employers. CSDA has joined the coalition opposing the bill.


Other Presumption-Related Legislation. Bills seeking to establish presumptions in the workers’ compensation system continue to present challenges as well. CSDA has joined coalitions on both SB 213 (Cortese) – presumptions for specified healthcare workers and AB 1751 (Daly) – presumptions for COVID-19.


Trends Going Forward: 

The CCWC conference also covered a number of trends in the workers’ compensation system, including the increased use of telemedicine. Another theme was concern over friction in the workers’ compensation claims system. On that topic, CSDA has joined a collation opposing AB 399 (Salas), which will increase friction in the system by making significant changes to the independent bill review process.


Stay tuned to CSDA eNews and Advocacy News for additional updates on important workers’ compensation legislation.