New Jersey governor rejects rebuttable presumption for emergency workers
Christie said S.B. 1776 would have upset the balance inherent in the state's workers' comp system.
"The unique circumstances surrounding workplace injuries of all employees, including our state's public safety workers, have been considered in the context of the fact-sensitive circumstances surrounding each incident. This time-tested process appropriately balances all facts necessary to determine a proper compensation award," Christie said.
"In contrast, this bill alters that careful balance by providing public safety workers with a presumption to workers' compensation, rebuttable only by clear and convincing evidence. This sweeping new standard would apply to disabilities associated with an array of enumerated incidents and in some cases disabilities not tethered to any work-related incident at all," he added.
In his veto message, Christie also said the bill's sponsors did not obtain a fiscal analysis despite what he said would likely be significant impact on state, local, and municipal government budgets.
While saying public safety workers are vital to the state and that "reasoned suggestions" for improving practices that ensure their well-being and protection should be evaluated, this particular legislation was not the answer. "While I welcome a discussion on new ways to enhance the lives of emergency responders, the truncated and insufficient manner in which this proposal was prepared and passed is not consistent with our responsibility as elected representatives of all citizens."
By Nancy Grover
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
August 30, 2013
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