1602 AMH BERG TANG 057
HB 1602 - H AMD 260
By Representative Bergquist
"Sec. 1. RCW 51.32.185 and 2007 c 490 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) In the case
of firefighters as defined in RCW 41.26.030((
(4))) (16) (a), (b),
and (c) who are covered under Title 51 RCW and firefighters, including
supervisors, employed on a full-time, fully compensated basis as a firefighter
of a private sector employer's fire department that includes over fifty such
firefighters, there shall exist a prima facie presumption that: (a) Respiratory
disease; (b) any heart problems, experienced within seventy-two hours of
exposure to smoke, fumes, or toxic substances, or experienced within
twenty-four hours of strenuous physical exertion due to firefighting
activities; (c) cancer; and (d) infectious diseases are occupational diseases
under RCW 51.08.140. In the case of firefighters as defined in RCW
41.26.030(h)(emergency medical technicians enrolled in or who were eligible to
enroll in the law enforcement officers and fire fighters' retirement system as
provided under section 1, chapter 459, Laws of 2005), there shall exist a prima
facie presumption that respiratory disease, bladder cancer, and infectious
diseases are occupational diseases under RCW 51.08.140. (( This)) The
presumption of occupational disease may be rebutted by a preponderance of the
evidence. Such evidence may include, but is not limited to, use of tobacco
products, physical fitness and weight, lifestyle, hereditary factors, and
exposure from other employment or nonemployment activities.
(2) The presumptions established in subsection (1) of this section shall be extended to an applicable member following termination of service for a period of three calendar months for each year of requisite service, but may not extend more than sixty months following the last date of employment.
(3) The presumption established in subsection (1)(c) of this section regarding cancer, and for firefighters as defined in RCW 41.26.030(h) regarding bladder cancer, shall only apply to any active or former firefighter who has cancer that develops or manifests itself after the firefighter has served at least ten years and who was given a qualifying medical examination upon becoming a firefighter that showed no evidence of cancer. The presumption within subsection (1)(c) of this section shall only apply to prostate cancer diagnosed prior to the age of fifty, primary brain cancer, malignant melanoma, leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, bladder cancer, ureter cancer, colorectal cancer, multiple myeloma, testicular cancer, and kidney cancer.
(4) The presumption established in subsection (1)(d) of this section shall be extended to any firefighter who has contracted any of the following infectious diseases: Human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, all strains of hepatitis, meningococcal meningitis, or mycobacterium tuberculosis.
(5) Beginning July 1, 2003, this section does not apply to a firefighter who develops a heart or lung condition and who is a regular user of tobacco products or who has a history of tobacco use. The department, using existing medical research, shall define in rule the extent of tobacco use that shall exclude a firefighter from the provisions of this section.
(6) For purposes of this section, "firefighting activities" means fire suppression, fire prevention, emergency medical services, rescue operations, hazardous materials response, aircraft rescue, and training and other assigned duties related to emergency response.
(7)(a) When a determination involving the presumption established in this section is appealed to the board of industrial insurance appeals and the final decision allows the claim for benefits, the board of industrial insurance appeals shall order that all reasonable costs of the appeal, including attorney fees and witness fees, be paid to the firefighter or his or her beneficiary by the opposing party.
(b) When a determination involving the presumption established in this section is appealed to any court and the final decision allows the claim for benefits, the court shall order that all reasonable costs of the appeal, including attorney fees and witness fees, be paid to the firefighter or his or her beneficiary by the opposing party.
(c) When reasonable costs of the appeal must be paid by the department under this section in a state fund case, the costs shall be paid from the accident fund and charged to the costs of the claim."
EFFECT: Modifies the original bill to limit the occupational disease presumption statute, as it applies to certain emergency medical technicians (EMTs), to respiratory disease, bladder cancer, and infectious diseases.
Makes explicit that the act applies to EMTs enrolled in, or who were eligible to enroll in, the Law Enforcement Officers and Fire Fighters' system (LEOFF), by referencing the 2005 legislation that authorized EMTs who were members of PERS to transfer to the LEOFF system.
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