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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=24827
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: November 14, 2017 01:27 PM
From: Representative Ed Gainey
To: All House members
Subject: Updates to the PA Worker's Compensation Act
 
I plan to soon introduce legislation that updates sections and language of the Workers’ Compensation Act.

Specifically, the bill will revise sections of the Act that now currently include outdated, disparate language references to women and provide for eligibility of Workers’ Compensation death benefits in the event of remarriage by a widow or widower of a first responder.

My bill adds a section that carves out an exception for surviving spouses of first responders who remarry to allow them to still be receive death benefits from Workers’ Compensation. The definition of “first responder” is added to clarify who is eligible under this legislation.

I believe this legislative update to the Act is necessary, since the:
  1. The disparate treatment of the surviving widow or widower (under section 307(7)) was found to be unconstitutional by the courts in 1981; and
  2. The latter part of section 307 still contains language that references prostitution.

Presently, a policy inconsistency exists between Workers’ Compensation benefits and retirement benefits. Under the PA’s Worker’s compensation death benefits cease upon remarriage, while pension benefits for surviving spouses continue at 50% of the pension the member was receiving, even if the surviving spouse remarries.

I believe these changes should be made to address and correct the discrepancy in PA’s pension and workers’ compensation laws for first responders and their spouses.

If you agree, please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

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Introduced as HB1982